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Gov’t wants to kill Bargaining Council – Advocate Boko

The attorney representing the main labour centre, the Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) Advocate Duma Gideon Boko has hinted that the government wants to “kill” the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) so that it is absolutely “dysfunctional”.

According to Advocate Boko, all the negotiations pertaining to salary increments and conditions of service of public servants should be done through the Bargaining Council. “This will ensure that the law is not rendered worthless,” he maintained in his oral arguments to lone Judge Monametsi Gaongalelwe this week in a fully packed public gallery at Court of Appeal consisting of the adversary union sympathisers for the two rival unions.

Boko said this in his law insignia at the highest Court in Botswana in a matter in which Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) in concert with government was praying for a stay of execution of High Court Judgement delivered by Justice Tshepo Motswagole on the scope of PSBC.

In the Motswagole Judgment, Court declared that the Bargaining Council can only decide on salaries and conditions of service of “all” Public Servants. It further set aside the unilateral increments of 3 % (2016) and 4% (2017) that was awarded by Government outside the ambit of Bargaining Council which he said had violated the Council as well as the Public Service Act of 2008. Aggrieved by the Motswagole judgement, BOPEU and government appealed the judgement.

In the appeal, Boko pointed out to Justice Gaongalelwe verbally that: “government looks resolute to destruct the Bargaining Council and giving itself absolute power over workers and rendering Trade Unions irrelevant. Should government do as it pleases? That’s not what the law in this regard,” he said in his signature bragging and confident voice to the presiding Judge.

He repeatedly stressed that in terms of the law; the Bargaining Council should take all the decisions with regard to salaries of government employees and that’s a “striking distinction between his side and the antagonists in the case.” Advocate Boko further pointed out that BOPEU and government failed to illustrate to court where they will suffer prejudice if they are not granted stay of execution and therefore maintained that they have no case hence no prospects of success. “They should provide concrete evidence to illustrate their case but they failed dismally.”

Boko, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, highlighted that the submission of government, through Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) in concert with BOPEU therefore should consequently not succeed. He reminded them that the Motswagole Judgement, which is at the centre of dispute – does not concern itself with the pay checks and pay backs of the 3% and the 3% and 4% increments – but only with what is “unlawful and illegal.” He emphasised that deciding salary increases outside the PSBC is clearly unlawful and illegal.  

On his part, his counterpart Mpho Garebatho concurred with Boko adding that the government should stop continuing with payments of the unlawful salary increments and stop unilateral salary increases outside the Bargaining Council. Meanwhile a lawyer representing BOPEU, Dutch Leburu stated that when replying to Boko that “Bargaining Council is not the law in Botswana.” He prayed that the judgement should come in their favour as the lives of close to 29 000 BOPEU members are at stake in terms of stopping their salaries.

“My lord, this case affects 29 000 members therefore is exceptional and of paramount importance. Imagine, the members’ salary increment of 3% being cut.” He said it will affect their taxes, medical aids, pensions negatively. Leburu added that PSBC is currently rippled with problems and therefore it cannot be trusted. He said BOFEPUSU Acting Jointly Agreement has failed to comply with PSBC constitution in terms of compliance by not submitting membership numbers.

On one side of the appellants, Leburu and Martin Dingake represented BOPEU while government was represented by Advocate Timothy Bruinders. On the other hand Advocate Boko sat in for BOFEPUSU together with Garebatho. After listening to both arguments, Justice Gaongalelwe then reserved the judgement to a later date he said he will announce. The matter has the potential to set the record straight in terms of the relevance of the PSBC.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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