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Civil servants salaries will go up

Incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi looks set to sweep unions under their feet. Government’s decision to engage Malaysian company, Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) Associates to review the public service remuneration and performance systems, is expected to be the basis for a long overdue increment for government workers.

BOFEPUSU family of trade unions recently confirmed that on 14th February 2018 met the Employer (DPSM) on over the issue of salaries. At the meeting, DPSM proposed a salary increment to the Public servants pending the outcome of reports of consultants engaged by the two parties. “The Union party submitted that it accepts the principle of salary increase, but that should not prejudice their labour rights as per their Collective labour agreements. The house did not finish its business and the next meeting is scheduled for 20th February 2018. We remain hopeful that such a meeting will bear desirable fruits,” Mogomotsi Motshegwa, BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General.

According to the Directorate of Public Servants Management (DPSM), the company has been contracted with special focus on the remunerations which have gone unchanged for some time now. Trade unions have been at war with government over public servants salaries for a long time now. Just recently, the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) collapsed owing to incongruities between government and trade unions. The contracted company will also review government’s Performance Management System (PMS) tools.

“The consultancy was initiated on the basis of the need to establish a proper remuneration system that will guide future reviews of salaries. This was necessitated by calls from employees to relook at the current salaries, which are believed to be low relative to market rates,” DPSM director Ruth Maphorisa said.

The expectation from DPSM is that the ongoing exercise will establish a remuneration system for Botswana that will set parameters for salary structure and the basis reviews in relation to the budget. The study will further link remuneration to performance management and the reward system. It is also to address issues relating to allowances which have been a source of litigation.


According to Maphorisa, the consultancy will run for 52 weeks and it commenced on the 1st December 2017. The consultancy has been awarded at the cost of USD (1,677,390) inclusive of withholding tax of USD 218, 790. However, sources are of the view that the consultancy might propose recommendations that border on altering of conditions of service. “Government should bear in mind that some of the issues that the consultancy might propose on its recommendations might border on altering of the current conditions of service,” a source said before adding, “The same conditions of service for employees however fall squarely with negotiable matters and as such government will have to negotiate with unions on the recommendations of the consultancy.”

Trade unions on the other hand say they were not engaged on the decision but rather informed that the consultancy had begun in December. “We were only informed about this development in December by government,” Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Secretary General Tobokani Rari said.


Meanwhile BOFEPUSU, insisted on being part of the evaluation meeting of the consultancy’s research, and are also carrying out a parallel exercise to compare it with PEMANDU’s. “The federation has since engaged Tsa Badiri Consultancy to carry out a review of the same with a view to table the report to DPSM that we would use to bargain in view of them engaging their company,” Rari said.

Quizzed on whether the union does not trust the Malay company, Rari said: “It is not that we don’t trust them, we cannot cast aspersions on them. We don’t know whether they will do a good job or not, but our reasons for engaging Tsa Badiri is that we are definitely of the conviction that issues subjected to a consultancy by DPSM are issues within the realms of bargaining and negotiations.” The union believes that it will need to have an informed position on them to engage DPSM when the consultancy is completed. The two reports are expected to be done before April with government and unions expected to start negotiating employees’ conditions using the recommendations by the two consultants.

WHY DPSM ENGAGED PEMANDU?

The relationship between DPSM with PEMANDU has grown out of bilateral cooperation with the government of Malaysia for South-South development. The company according to reports has previously assisted DPSM in coming up with the delivery unit for Vision 2036 and National Development Plan.

PEMANDU Associates is a consultancy firm established by PEMANDU; a Malaysian government unit that was established under the Prime Minister’s department in 2009. It has since been disestablished. PEMANDU's main role and objective was to oversee the implementation, assess the progress, facilitate as well as support the delivery and drive the progress of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). It is touted for its success in transforming the Malaysian economy, and their work, and in particular their Big Fast Result methodology in providing solutions on transforming government in other countries is well documented.

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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