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Govt slashes public servants overtime allowance

In a recent development, government has instructed accounting officers in various departments to ensure that public servants’ overtime allowances does not exceed 10% of their basic salary. The move to chop overtime allowances is believed to be part of cost cutting measures.

The measures are aimed at containing public spending consistent with the government’s fiscal policy of effective expenditure management and control. According to Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupis, through Circular Savingram No.5 of 2016, dated 31st October, “accounting officers should exercise strict control to ensure that the overall overtime expenditure does not exceed 10% of personal emoluments.”

Indications suggest that the information has cascaded to other government departments as yet another savingram, from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), Dr. Theophilus Mooko stated to all Directors in the Ministry that employees should stick to the stipulated percentage pertaining to overtime allowance.

It states that, “no employees should be allowed to earn overtime in excess of 10% of their basic salary and the total expenditure on overtime should not exceed 10% of personal emoluments.” According to the Ministry PS, the employees should also “reduce spending by avoiding travelling during weekends save for emergency services” and “reduce expenditure on workshops and seminars.”

As another cost cutting measure, the government official further posits that there should be installation of energy saving devices and water saving devices, and effective attends to leaks promptly in all government offices and institutions.

The circular savingram titled, “measures to contain public spending: 10% overtime” was addressed to all ministry Permanent Secretaries (PS’s), Attorney General (AG), Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Auditor General (AG), Ombudsman, Botswana Public Service College (BPSC), Industrial Court, High Court, National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), National Assembly, Police, Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) and National Strategy Office (NSO) for immediate implementation.

10% overtime constraint boarders on illegality – BOFEPPUSU
For their part, Botswana Federation of Public and Private Sector Union’s (BOFEPPUSU) view is that the circular savingram “border on an illegality” in that issues of overtime are “regulated by an act of parliament” which is the Employment Act and as such “we hold that no one including the PSP has the right to put further restrictions on what parliament has regulation on”.

BOFEPPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, maintained that “we put it to the PSP and all other proponents of this 10% regulation of overtime to come out clear and avail the authority upon which they derive such a moratorium that in our view infringe on an Act of parliament.”

According to Rari, they foresee chaos that would be caused by the savingram.
He said that if, for example, if teachers were to stick to the moratorium that they should not accrue any overtime pay that would be in access of 10%, “a lot of work would suffer”. For instance, he added that the bulk of the teachers are in C band salary scales of an average pay of about BPW14, 000 and “if we are to stick to the moratorium that they should accrue overtime pay of not more than 10% of the salaries, it would then mean that, in a month, the total money that they could claim would be about P1, 400.00 which translates to only about 3 overtime hours in month.”

This, he said definitely would mean that teachers would on average in a month work overtime in only two days which would leave a great deal of work suffering. “Definitely such uninformed blind decisions would come to be felt when final exams come out,” the BOFEPPUSU SG pointed out.

Rari, who is a trained teacher come unionist, maintained that the result is that teachers would not be able to carry out official duties after hours and supervision of course work projects, remedial lessons, enrichment activities, sporting activities will bear the brunt and would be greatly affected.

He said as a way forward, an affiliate of BOFEPPUSU, Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) would be releasing a communication to members advising them to cease to be engaged after hours or work overtime in response to this unilateral draconian moratorium which overrides the employment act.

“The repercussions would be felt on the final year results,” he cautioned.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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