BOFEPUSU to block salary increase
Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) is expected to file an urgent application to the courts seeking an interdict on the latest stance of unilateral salary, allowances and conditions of services adjustment by the government for un-unionised civil servants.
BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, believes that Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi, is misleading the government on issues of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) and public service in general and deliberately causing division within the public service which forms the larger part of the country’s working class.
“He precipitates divisions within the public service and he is the reason for the low morale in the public service,” Rari said in a press statement when he condemned government stance to leave out unionised public servants in the salary adjustments. Government, through the PSP, on Wednesday revealed the adjustment of salaries for only non-unionized cadre excluding their unionised counterparts for the second financial year running.
This means Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Police, Prison, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Directorate on Intelligence Security Services (DISS) workers will get a slight modification on their salaries, allowances and conditions of services. Others who received the adjustments are Councillors, World War Veterans, Ipelegeng Workers, Old age pensioners and VDC members among few others.
Morupisi has linked this divide and rule tactic to the pending court cases between the two. According to Rari, the flimsy excuse put forward by the PSP that there is a restraining order “that prohibits government from adjusting salaries and related allowances of public servants who are members of unions admitted into the PSBC,” doesn’t hold water as it is a distortion of facts and misleading to the public. “In fact, Court has restrained unilateral increments and directed that government is bound by law to take any proposed increment to the PSBC,” Rari clarified.
The government’s decision to exclude unionized employees from salary adjustment, comes two weeks after the Industrial court ruled against a similar government decision. In the case, re-branded Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) was ordered to pay all its unionized staff a deserved 3 per cent (%) inflation adjustment, after the university denied them that right. Industrial Court Judge, Annah Mathiba ruled that leaving out unionized employees in such an action was “unfair”, it was a “discriminatory practise,” and “unlawful.”
However, the BOFEPUSU’s Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, views the government’s decision as an excuse to evade the route to bargaining as ordered by the courts. “We find this conduct by government not only inconsistent, but also malicious, resembling bad intentions and reminiscent of hypocrisy of the worst order,” Rari quipped. The incensed BOFEPUSU known of their radical mentality have consulted their lawyers on the matter.
“We have instructed them to file an urgent application to interdict the current unilateral salary increment, to wait for determination of the Courts so that the council can be given a chance to deal with the salary negotiations and conditions as per the mandate of the PSBC,” Rari added.
The feud between the two parties has been dragging on for some time, as there are still many documents at the courts between the two. BOFEPUSU further argues that Morupisi made this ‘erratic and outrageous’ pronouncement contrary to established procedure that the Director of DPSM would: “In his power mongering act, Mr. Morupisi has usurped the powers of DPSM and sidelined Mrs. Ruth Maphorisa who is the Director of DPSM.”
Rari further pleaded with Morupisi to voluntarily resign, failing which, “we call the President to relieve him of his duties”. Under Morupisi’s tenure as the Director of DPSM and PSP, BOFEPUSU say they have witnessed regression, nepotism, maladministration and rising institutionalized corruption. “It is clear that Mr Morupisi is responsible for the current mess in the public service therefore not fit for office,” Rari said.
Salaries and Related Allowances: A 4% increment in the salaries and related allowances, including a housing and upkeep adjustment of P100, is being awarded to all staff members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Police and Prison Services, along with the Directorates of Intelligence and Security and Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), to specified officers being the Chairperson and other members of the Public Service Commission, the Attorney General, Auditor General, Secretary of the Independent Electoral Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions, Judicial Service and to Dikgosi, as well as to non-unionised members of the public service.
Adjustment of Salary Grade of Dikgosi: It has also been decided to further enhance the salaries of all Dikgosi by grading them upwards by one level on the salary scale, e.g. those Dikgosi who were previously graded at D1 will now be graded at E2. Councillors' Housing Allowance:
A new monthly housing allowance of P1,200.00 is to be introduced that will now cover all ordinary Council members, while the existing housing allowances for Council and Sub-Council Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons and Mayors and Deputy Mayors will be maintained at their current levels.
Social Grant Increase: With regard to Social Grants, an increase by P100 a month has been authorised for the benefit of the following recipient categories:
(i) Old Age Pensioners, from P330.00 to P430.00
(ii) World War II veterans, from P450 to P550
(iii) Home Based Care, from 202.80 to 302.80
(iv) Umbrella Village Development Committee (VDC),from P240.00 to P340.00
(v) VDC, from P220.00 to P 320.00
Ipelegeng Increment means that Monthly payments for those participating in the Ipelegeng Programme are also to be increased as follows: Supervisors from P620.00 to P651.00; Ordinary members from P540.00 to P567.00.
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Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup
With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.
Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.
The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.
Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.
“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.
Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.
Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.
For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.
Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS
The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.
When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.
Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.
She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.
During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.
Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017
Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.
According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd, the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.
However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.
“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.
While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.
“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.
The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.