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Motshegwa defends ‘stable’ BLLAHWU

  • Labels the seven defectors dissidents
     
  • Says they have always caused chaos
     
  • BLLAHWU has 12000 members

Following the formation of Botswana Progressive Workers Union, whose founders are former members of Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU), this publication caught up with the Secretary General of BLLAHWU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa to share on the status of his union following the departures.  

Weekend Post:  There are reports of a union which claims to be a breakaway from BLLAHWU; could this be a matter of fact?

Motshegwa: BLLAHWU is intact, stable and prospering well. We continue to receive new members. The structures of the Union are well revived as the National leadership and Regional Organizers of the Union continue to liaise with structures and update them on pertinent industrial relations issues.

We note that there are about seven (7) members of the Union who have been making noise that they have resigned from the Union and formed a new one. We are not worried because given their integrity no one will be fooled by such characters and they won't attract anyone. As we speak we have not experienced any resignation from members.

Weekend Post: Are you aware of any disgruntled former members of BLLAHWU out there?

Motshegwa: Members of the Union are happy, optimistic and inspired by the Union and its performance. This was further clear in the Governing Council of the 20th August 2016 which was productive and progressive.

Weekend Post: What were their concerns? And have they attempted to engage leadership on finding solutions to the challenges they identified at the time?

Motshegwa: The seven troublesome members have no genuine reasons whatsoever. It's just that they have a history of being dissidents and delinquent to the Union. Motelebane Motelebane has that dark history of being trouble to the Union. He has always been like that during the days when the Union was an Association called BULGSA. He has always engaged in attacking and belittling Union leadership as long as he was not in leadership. Every time he loses elections he then resorts to attacking leadership. They tried twice to overthrow the current Committee but they failed because members put them to order. So they don't have any reasons expect that they are driven by hunger for power. That is why having lost Presidential elections in BLLAHWU in 2013 and this year he claims to form a Union and become its President.  

Weekend Post: What would you say is the position of BLLAHWU at the moment, on a balance scale, will you say it is still a strong union?

Motshegwa: BLLAHWU is very strong, stable. The departure of Motelebane and his crew has helped BLLAHWU attain peace and stability because they were always causing chaos and instability in the Union. It was clear at the Governing Council that members were happy that finally the Union is stable and attractive.  

Weekend Post: Substantiate with figures, how many members do you have in the books?

Motshegwa: BLLAHWU is currently at 12000 members and having great potential for growth with its reputation of loyalty to the workers cause and representation of members on Industrial Relations matters.

Weekend Post: What is the diversity of your union membership, what cadres subscribe to BLLAHWU?

Motshegwa: BLLAHWU organises different cadres in the whole public service.

Weekend Post: There have been questions of accountability at your union, especially failure to submit audited statements to the Registrar as a required by law, does this hold water?

Motshegwa: The Union submits audited financial report every year to the Conference and submit Annual returns to the Registrar of Trade Unions. This we have constantly complied with without fail. The Union has good corporate governance practices in place which are guided by internal control measures such as Financial and accounting policy, procurement policy, and anti-money laundering policy, human resource conditions of service, Information and technology policy, Board charter for Union investments. Our practices are anchored on reporting, responsibility, transparency and accountability.
 
Weekend Post: What is your view on the deduction that those who defected from BLLAHWU could only be doing so because of a personal battle against yourself as the Secretary General?

Motshegwa: Their actions are personalized for they have failed to prove themselves within the Union. They lost the elections in 2013, and the Union is heading for elections in the Congress of 1-4 December 2016 and they have anticipated their loss and members were fed up with them. That is why now they resorted to malicious lies; propaganda against the Union particularly targeted at the Secretary General to try and paid him in bad. But that has not worked and hence why they jumped ship realizing that they have squandered their reputation.

Weekend Post: Put the matter of your employment by the union to rest, there are claims that it was un-procedural. Explain to your loyal members for the record and clarity.

Motshegwa: The Constitution of BLLAHWU has always provided that the Secretary General is an employee of the Union. That provision has always been there since 2009. What the Constitution says is that when one is becomes the Secretary General of the Union he or she automatically becomes an employee of the Union by virtue of being the Secretary General.

The employment of the current Secretary General having been catered for in the Constitution was endorsed and confirmed in the Governing Council and Conference of the Union in 2015 following the dismissal of the Secretary General from the public service following fights with the employer.

Those who challenge this are actually pouring water on the Constitution, the Governing Council, Conference and Congress of the Union. In fact they are driven pettiness and jealously.

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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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