The Botswana government is said to have learned a lesson from the sudden closure of BCL mine which lead to severe emotional breakdown amongst axed miners and is trying to avoid falling into the same trap by putting in place psychological support ahead of the looming mass retrenchment of Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) employees.
In Selibe Phikwe this past week, cabinet Minister, Nonofo Molefhi told residents of New-stands that WUC will scale down its workforce in the coming weeks and that the retrenchment exercise will be done over a few months. “Because of the unplanned shutdown of BCL we were not prepared for psycho-social fatalities hence there was no counseling and psychological guidance put in place to prepare the workers of the wrath coming,” he said, “We dismally failed in that area.”
According to Molefhi, for any future retrenchments or restructuring that is to occur, which is well planned and known, necessary emotional preparations will be put in place to ready workers for the loss of employment trauma. Molefhi shed some light to Phikwe residents that the next economic job bleeds is at the WUC. According to Minister Molefhi, Cabinet has approved Mmetla Masire’s restructuring of the financial strapped corporation.
“Water Utilities is currently overstaffed and the number of employees at the company does not make business sense as there is idle human resource, which bears the company avoidable costs,” he explained. He further stipulated that the overstaffing at WUC is a result of the 2009 absorbing of employees from council authorities and water affairs, adding that due to transfer of all water services from Water Affairs Department to Water Utilities, Government did not want to discard the employees at the time but the status of economy and financial troubles at Water Utilities does not allow for such workforce noting that the company can no longer affordto pay employees salaries.
“Currently the company is completing a restructuring and remodeling analysis to inform exactly how the undertaking will be done,” said Molefhi. He added that by end of February 2019 the assigned consultants will present their finding to the Minister in charge as well as the board of directors of WUC.
“The preliminary counseling has already began to prepare company workers of the reality of job losses ahead.” The Selibe Phikwe East lawmaker observed that workers unions, insurance companies and other service providers are currently being consulted of the upcoming retrenchments at the country’s water supplier.
Information gathered by WeekendPost reveals that WUC will invite employees to apply for exit voluntarily before implementing forced retrenchment. According to sources at Sedibeng House, counseling of employees long commenced last year November after a communiqué from the Corporation Chief Executive, who is former President Sir QKJ Masire‘s son. This publication has it on good authority that almost one-third of Water Utilities employees will no longer be on Mmetla Masire’s payroll by April 2017.
Although Minister Molefhi was in denial of the analysis that the closure of BCL was a knout punch for WUC treasury, experts observe that BCL was Water Utilities’ single largest factory client from the private sector alongside another cash strapped Botswana Meat Commission. As of now Water Utilities Corporation is one of BCL creditors and over 71 million pula was owed to Water Utilities at the time BCL limited was put under provisional liquidation.
Information gathered by this publication reveals that the move to rescale workforce and restructure the business model of Water Utilities is a plan by the government enclave to privatise water and sanitation services. According to a source close to the echelons of power, Ministers Sadique Kebonang and Prince Maele’s constant dual trips abroad are a quest to find lucrative investors who will be sold some of WUC’s assets and services.
During the commemoration of African Industrialization day last year in November at the town, Minister of Lands, Water and Sanitation, Maele, was quoted by this publication noting that his visit with Hon Kebonang to Vietnam and Sweden was to salvage investors in Minerals, energy and water related businesses.
The retrenchments at Water Utilities will add to 2016’s tremendous job losses.
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.
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.
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.