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BOFEPPPUSU losing thousands of members

Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sectors Union (BOFEPPPUSU) are continuously losing members due to a stalemate at the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC).

Government parties at the Bargaining Council have declined to submit their counter proposal to the union insisting that the government has already awarded 3% to the public servants. The 3% was awarded unilaterally without the input of the Bargaining Council and consequently was not awarded to BOFEPPPUSU members who are under acting jointly agreement at PSBC.

According to BOFEPPPUSU Deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa in his founding affidavit seen by Weekend Post and before court; in the meantime more than two-thirds of the public service being members of the BOFEPPPUSU, who are in the region of 60 000, are not in receipt of a salary increment for the financial year 2016/2017.

He said notwithstanding that and/or yet the financial year (2016/17) is fast coming to an end.  Motshegwa highlighted in the court papers that BOFEPPPUSU have “lost several thousand members as a result of the time that it is taking to settle the 2016/2017 wage increment, and will continue to do so as long as the increment for the financial year has not been settled.”   

The union federation DSG pointed out that those public officers who have left BOFEPPPUSU have obviously done so “in order to receive the unilateral (3%) increment” that they are not getting at the moment. With inflation, he said the purchasing power of those members who remain part of BOFEPPPUSU is being eroded with every day that passes by.

The salary increment for the financial year 2017/2018 are supposed to be implemented in April 2017, he pointed out while adding that: “this will not happen unless the parties return to the Council and conclude the 2017/2018 wage negotiations.”  According to Motshegwa, the failure to settle the 2016/2017 wage increment has undoubtedly affected the morale of the majority of the public service and this in turn affects efficiency in service delivery to the public.  

“For the foregoing reasons, the matter is self-evidently urgent and redress is not available in due course.  There is not in law compensatory relief for the breach of the duty to bargain in good faith that the Applicants complain of. In the premises an order is sought in terms of the Draft,” the BOFEPPPUSU leader pleaded in his founding affidavit before court.

The matter, he added that it is one of great urgency and great national importance.   “The Court of Appeal recognized the urgency of settling the 2016/2017 wage increment of public officers entertained an appeal concerning the composition of the PSBC on urgency and after hearing the appeal directed that once the PSBC has been reconstituted the 2016/2017 wage negotiations should continue.”    

Despite the directive of the Court of Appeal, and the urgency and importance placed on the finalization of the 2016/2017 wage negotiations he said these are currently not taking place.  The purpose of the application by BOFEPPPUSU they maintain that is to enforce their right to negotiate a wage increment for the financial years 2016/2017 and 2017/2018; resolve an outstanding dispute between the parties as regards the scope of the PSBC; as well as resolve a dispute as to who is eligible to be a representative of Government before the Council.  

Gov’t fails to submit replying affidavits

Meanwhile in the matter, the government lawyers had failed to submit replying affidavits by Friday which was supposed to be the arguments day for the case and instead requested for a postponement that was however duly granted. The presiding Judge who was sitting in for Justice Abednigo Tafa ordered the government lawyers to have replied the union federation by Monday next week.

Speaking to Weekend Post after the case outside court in Lobatse, BOFEPPPUSU attorney, Mboki Chilisa of Collins Chilisa Consultants confirmed that the matter has been postponed. “It is likely that the state attorneys will file their replying affidavits by Monday,” Chilisa pointed out briefly.

Meanwhile BOFEPPPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari also informed to this publication separately on Friday after the case that “be notified that the case that was supposed to take place today at the High Court of Botswana in which BOFEPPUSU seeks an order that the court declares that the industrial court judgement on the 3% court case is in effect and should be applied with respect to the scope of the PSBC pending the final relief case on the same that is before the High Court has been postponed to Friday 25th November 2016.”
He said they still appeal for members’ extended patience as they “fight to defend the broader principle of bargaining in this Republic.”

The union federation believes that government is on hidden agenda to delay the salary negotiations talks at the PSBC with a clear purpose to render the Bargaining Council irrelevant and consequently continue with unilateral increments even in future.

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MoESD Steps in for Learners with Acute and Multiple Disabilities

29th February 2024

In an era where the advocacy for the rights and inclusion of marginal groups, especially individuals beset with profound and multiple impairments, grows more fervent, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is actively devising schemes to integrate these individuals comprehensively.

Embarking on a pioneering venture, heralded by the Minister Douglas Letsholathebe, the establishment of a novel facility designated for individuals faced with disabilities is on the horizon, set to inaugurate in Maun by mid-2024.

This forthcoming entity, bestowed with the title “Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities,” is set to emerge as a sanctuary for those grappling with intense and diverse disabilities in the expanse of the Ngamiland District. Its mission extends beyond serving as a haven; it aims to elevate educational standards and secure outstanding scholastic achievements for this special cohort.

With palpable optimism, Dr. Letsholathebe heralds that this sanctuary, a collective effort of the ministry’s allies, is constructed and awaits its ceremonial launch in the June of 2024, marking a significant epoch in the winter season.

“Construction of the Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities has concluded, now in the stewardship of my Ministry. We are poised for its operational unveiling come June 2024,” Dr. Letsholathebe revealed, signaling a new chapter of assurance.

The Government of the Republic of Botswana is steadfast in elevating the status of individuals with disabilities, fostering an environment where their rights are fervently protected and upheld.

Echoing this commitment, the recent adoption of the Persons Living with Disabilities Act marks a historic stride. Its foremost objective is the establishment of the National Disability Coordinating Office alongside the National Disability Council, aligning with the mandates of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This movement is expected to significantly influence the integration of disability-centric issues.

Moreover, this legislative framework is set to fortify ongoing initiatives, increasing the economic participation of disabled individuals, thereby enhancing their living conditions and steering them towards securing a life marked by dignity and fulfillment.



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Unemployment hits People living with disability hard

29th February 2024

In light of historical evidence, individuals bearing disabilities have consistently encountered significant obstacles in securing employment, often finding themselves at the margins of the workforce. Constraints to equitable employment opportunities compared to their non-disabled counterparts were a common plight.

A substantial portion of employers harbor reservations about integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces, fearing potential complications. Only a select few are open to the idea of employing individuals with disabilities. Consequently, these individuals face heightened unemployment rates and a lack of social support, exacerbating their vulnerability to economic hardship. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), along with the nation of Botswana, champions the cause of workplace inclusion for people with disabilities.

Statistics from Botswana’s multi-topic survey for the fourth quarter of 2021 underscore the situation. The labor force comprising individuals with disabilities saw an uptick to 11,553 from 8,649 in just a year. Among these, 4,313 were males and 7,240 were females. The unemployed tally stood at 2,195, against 9,358 who were employed. A notable majority resided in Urban Villages, with the remainder spread across rural locales and cities.

During this quarter, individuals with disabilities accounted for approximately 1.3 percent (9,358 persons) of the overall 717,418 employed populace, marking a significant increase from the previous year. The distribution of employed persons with disabilities across various areas also saw changes, with urban regions employing a majority, followed by rural areas and cities.

The report further delves into the occupational landscape for people with disabilities, noting a predominant employment in service/sales roles over elementary positions – a contrast to the broader employment data.

Despite a reduction in unemployment figures for individuals with disabilities from the preceding year, the unemployment rate stands at a worrying 19.0 percent, with disparities between genders. Urban areas house the majority of the unemployed, with rural areas and cities following suit.

Unemployment across different age groups reveals a balanced distribution, highlighting a widespread issue across the demographic spectrum. This paints a vivid picture of the ongoing challenges and gradual progress within the sphere of employment for people with disabilities.

Majority of employers are still hesitant to employ people with disabilities because they believe they may bring problems in the workplace. Only a few employers are willing to hire workers with disabilities. This as a result makes people living with disability to be affected by high unemployment and insufficient social protection which then further increases their risk of poverty. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is advocating for the inclusion of people with disability in the world of work and Botswana as a country too is advocating for their inclusion in the workplaces.

According to statistics Botswana, multi-topic survey quarter 4, 2021 labour force module report, the total labour force for people with disability was estimated at 11,553 persons, an increase of 2,904 persons over a period of twelve months (from 8,649 persons recorded in Q4 2020). From this total, 4,313 persons were males while 7,240 were females. In addition, 2,195 persons were unemployed whereas 9,358 persons were employed. Furthermore, the data showed the majority of labour force with disability were in Urban Villages (6,185), 3,708 were in rural areas and 1,661 in Cities & Towns.


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28th February 2024

The essence of community and local flair reigns supreme as St Louis Lager takes a bold step with its ambitious “Hype the Homegrown” Initiative, designed to bolster the visibility and support for local artists and home-based brands, weaving them into the fabric of mainstream success through revolutionary partnerships.

The launchpad for this endeavor has been set with a plethora of creative projects. Among them, a musical odyssey titled “The Journey,” featuring the fusion of local House and Pop virtuoso Hanceford Magapatona, widely celebrated as Han C. Enriching the project further are talents like the visionary Producer Flex the Ninja and the RnB Phenom, Priscilla K, whose track “Away” has captured hearts. This six-track EP, ripe with local genius, is up for grabs across all streaming services, inviting listeners to a world of Botswana’s finest.

But “Hype the Homegrown” transcends the bounds of musical exploration, delving into the realms of fashion and lifestyle, stitching a dynamic collaboration with Collections by B.K. Proctor. This venture, rooted in 100% local ownership by the trailblazing Rapper and Entrepreneur Bokang β€œBK” Proctor alongside Digital Maverick, Fifi Wale, showcases a vibrant melding of St Louis Lager and Collections by BK Proctor insignias across a series of street-savvy sneakers and tees. These exclusive pieces have hit the shelves at the Collections by BK Proctor boutiques within the bustling hubs of Gaborone Fairgrounds Mall, Grand Palm, and Toro Junction Mall in Francistown.

Unveiled by the marketing maestro of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, Gaamanngwe Ramokgothwane, this initiative not only shines a spotlight on KBL’s enduring commitment to the arts but also underscores the wealth of creativity brewing within Botswana, deserving of grand stages and accolades. Ramokgothwane passionately advocates for a collective embrace of this homegrown brilliance, positioning “Hype the Homegrown” as not merely a campaign but a clarion call to action for institutions far and wide to champion and elevate local talent.

Echoing this sentiment, KBL’s steward Carlos Bernitt envisions a future where these artisans not only sparkle locally but also etch their mark on the global canvas, all through the unified backing of Batswana. With “Hype the Homegrown,” a legacy of innovation, creativity, and inspiration is in the making.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Seipati Olweny, acknowledged this campaign as a turning point for the creative community. She stressed the indispensable role of local talent in crafting Botswana’s cultural tapestry and stimulating economic diversification, pledging unwavering support from the ministry towards this collective journey of uplifting local flair.

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