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Gov’t appeals P468 million teachers’ windfall

Botswana Government has this week appealed a case in which Primary Schools Senior teachers were expecting a windfall of a salary increment and back pays from July 2013 following the implementation of Levels of Operations (LOO).

LOO is a cabinet directive and the salary adjustments were designed to put the senior school teachers on equal scale with their counterparts at junior and Senior Schools. The Primary School Senior teachers were to move from C1 band with an income of around P 14 000 to D4 salary scale which falls around P 16 000 to P 17 000 which was to drain the government coffers 486 million pula.

There are 752 Primary Schools in Botswana and each Primary School houses around 6 Senior School teachers. This means there are approximately 4 512 Senior School teachers in the country whom could be affected by this windfall. The appeal on the matter was presided over by the Court of Appeal President Justice Ian Stuart Kirby, Justice Singh Walia and Justice Nicholas Nick McNally.

When presenting the grounds of appeal orally in court on Friday, government through their Senior Attorney Matlhogonolo Phuthego of the Attorney General, stated that government never made a promise to senior teachers at Primary Schools that they will be part of the salary upgrades as a result of LOO.

“LOO could not cover Primary School teachers. However it was to apply in due course to the Primary School teachers but there was no time set,” government Senior Counsel told a three Judges Court of Appeal bench. He explained that the senior teachers were excluded in the guidelines and that there was no legitimate expectation from them. He continued to highlight that nonetheless senior teachers at Primary Schools have no same responsibility as their counterparts at Junior and Senior Secondary Schools.

According to government attorney, they should have at least pushed government to speed up the Job Evaluation Assessments in which they may have benefited from it as far as increments are concerned. Phuthego stressed that there was no agreement between government and teachers and therefore the lower court misdirected itself as they used its power in the administration affairs of government which should not be the case.

He also said the unions failed to attach the cabinet directive on LOO and therefore the court does not have evidence on the contents and details of such. On his part, Joseph Akoonyatse who represented the unions BTU and BOSETU said orally that the guidelines from government were cutting across senior teachers at Junior and Senior Schools as well as at Primary School.

As such, the LOO’s intention was to level the playing field and that’s why LOO was implemented in 2013 and the unions only went to court in 2016 seeking for remedy as no action was taken as yet by government in implementing LOO.
The lawyer was also worried that government is now introducing a barrier of pre-conditions while explaining that the directive never included pre-conditions and applied to all teachers.

At the High Court, the case was brought by Botswana Teachers Union and Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU). The appeal case comes as a result of a ruling by Lobatse High Court Judge Godfrey Ntlhomiwa recently in favour of the Primary School senior teachers in which he ordered to increase salaries of the senior teachers’ holding positions of responsibility.

He said the increments should be made retrospective to the month of July 2013, when LOO was first implemented. The High Court also held that indeed it was unlawful for the two portfolios to be clustered together in one scale and that the Job Evaluation Assessment by government should not be used as a pre-condition of the senior teachers with responsibilities at primary School to benefit rightfully from LOO.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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