With the recent announcement of salary adjustments for public servants being the epicentre of ongoing legal battles between Government and Botswana federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), it has emerged that President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama was determined to give public servants a salary increase this April, outside the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC).
This publication has gathered that President Khama briefed his cabinet on what he intended to do, and when some ministers objected to the move owing to some pending legal matters at the courts relating to conditions of service for public servants, he made it clear that he will go ahead and make adjustments to salaries. It is understood that the final details of the adjustments were done by President Khama, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Good Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale, and the Permanent secretary to the President, Carter Morupusi.
During the discussions on the issue of salaries before he took ministers off the equation, the President is said to have expressed displeasure at the apparent leakage of cabinet discussions. His gripe emanates from the fact that ‘confidential discussions’ which he had held with the then four suspended judges. Intricacies of the ceasefire agreement between the President, the Chief Justice and the four judges were reported on mainstream media in the recent weeks and the President is suspecting that some Ministers, who were briefed of the discussions, leaked the information to the media.
Some Ministers are said to have not taken kindly to the accusations because they expressed that they were not the only ones privy to the discussions, they were other players who could have dashed to the media to ambush the official communication of the ceasefire. Meanwhile, some insiders point to the current polarisation of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) because of the expected July elective congress, to be motivating some of the jabs and gestures within the executive.
Insiders who spoke to some ministers pointed out that after this discussion the President chose to complete the task of crafting salary increases with Minister Molale and his PSP. President Khama is said to be strongly of the view that Government has an obligation to decide to increase salaries for its employees especially when the bargaining process is dysfunctional.
BOFEPUSU BLOCKS SALARY INCREMENT
Upon lodging their application to interdict the unilateral salary increment by government which increased salaries for non-unionised public servants by 4%, hence side lining the Public Service Bargaining Council and acting on a matter that is still under Court, BOFEPUSU was of the view that it is representing principle. Its Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, pointed out that the High Court was still ceased with the matter of determination of the scope of Bargaining Council on salary negotiations. Before the interdict matter was heard, the Judge delivered the judgment on the scope of Bargaining Council and government lost with costs. Rari and his team are of the opinion that once the scope of P.S.B.C. has been determined then the P.S.B.C should meet and then conclude on salary negotiations for financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18.
WIN BIG AGAINST GOVERNMENT
BOFEPUSU had approached Court for determination of the scope of Public Service Bargaining Council; interdict Government from unilateral salary increments. This was meant to protect the functionality of role of P.S.B.C and thereby protecting and guaranteeing prevalence of Collective Bargaining. The Court consequently decided that; The Public Service Bargaining Council as a Joint Industrial Council is duly mandated to negotiate for all Public Servants and not just for members of Unions at P.S.B.C.; That Government acted in bad by awarding 3% salary increment for year 2016/17, and therefore the increment declared illegal, null and void. The same extend to the 4% which was envisaged for increment of financial year 2017/18.
BOFEPUSU PUSHES FOR COMPLIANCE
BOFEPUSU approached the High Court again on Thursday to force Government to comply with Judgment delivered on Tuesday 4th April 2017. The ruling had set aside the Government's unilateral salary increment of 3 % percent last year and 4% this year. The application for compliance came in the wake of government contending that they have already prepared salaries for the month of April and could only comply from the month of May going forward.
During the deliberations, BOFEPUSU through its attorneys indicated that salaries have not yet been prepared, and that the system allows for reversal. But Government lawyers said the salaries for April have already been prepared and the system is being operated from outside the country. The judge ordered that government should bring evidence to prove that the salaries have already been prepared and the matter will return to court on 24th April this year.
BOFEPUSU WANTS PSP AND MINISTER TO RESIGNâ€¨â€¨
Rari says as BOFEPUSU they are concerned that people who mislead government are never answerable for their misdeeds. “A sad reality of our times under this current government, that a certain known individual government bureaucrats and known Cabinet Ministers, could be allowed to make such telling blunders that costs government not only money, but that subject government to such denting humiliating embarrassment, and still be allowed to continue to hold office without being required to resign or be sacked.
How on earth does one explain a situation where twice in a row, government is forced by the courts to reverse an increment on the basis of the same mistake, that of side-lining the bargaining process in altering conditions of service of workers. Government was restrained in the case of a 3% last year, and once again government is being restrained in the case of a 4%,” observed Rari. â€¨â€¨He says what is even more denting and extremely embarrassing which reduces government to a circus is the fact that this week’s court decision, government has been told that last year's 3% salary increment to non – unionized employees and those who were not admitted into the PSBC then, was unlawful and as such it should be stopped forthwith and those employees who got the 3% should pay back.
“No no no, the circus cannot be allowed to continue. This dashes and dampens the little hope and moral that was left in the public service. The BDP as a ruling party should and cannot allow this to go uncommented and unpunished. We would like to hear the voice all Batswana on this issue including the civil society. These public service which some individuals toy around with are drivers of the country's development and service providers to the nation.
That's why we feel that the PSP and Minister of Presidential Affairs should resign forthwith or be sacked for horrendous blunders,” further states Rari.â€¨ â€¨Rari says they are reliably informed that they were advised by the legal brains prior to the 4% adjustment and defied such advices only because they are pushing some agenda with some unions. “The fact that in today's case, government was represented by private attorneys tells a story,” he said.â€¨
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.
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.
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.