Connect with us

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.

Continue Reading


Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

Continue Reading


Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

Continue Reading


Ngamiland Cattle Farmers Gain Green Zone Revenue

27th January 2023

Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.

Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.

To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.

These collaborative efforts being piloted in Habu and Eretsha villages also include the Pro-Nature Enterprises Project for the People of Southern Africa, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Le Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). This complementary funding from AFD and FFEM supports the implementation of the Herding4Health (H4H) model and Rangeland Stewardship Agreements across four rangeland sites in Southern Africa, including Habu and Eretsha, to incentivize best practices that could offer sustainability in the long term for livelihoods, conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.

Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.

“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).

Through co-financing of almost P1 billion from the Botswana government and Green Climate Fund, these interventions will be replicated, through The Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Mitigation in Botswana’s Communal Rangelands project, across the country. Both projects aim to improve the economic benefits of cattle owners and multitudes of Batswana households, while contributing to land restoration and climate change efforts by the Botswana government

Continue Reading