Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) President, Andrew Motsamai has expressed confidence that the union will meet the threshold that will grant it membership at the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) following the Court of Appeal (CoA) verdict last week.
The Court of Appeal last week granted both BOPEU and former mother body Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) affiliates under BOFEPUSU Acting Jointly Agreement the lee way to serve in the PSBC provided they meet the threshold after fresh verification of numbers.
Motsamai said in a press briefing this week that if a fresh determination is made using membership figures, BOPEU will meet the threshold.
Currently, National Amalgamated Local Central Government and Parastatals Workers Union (NALCGPWU) also known as Manual Workers Unions is the only union meeting the threshold to qualify to seat in the PSBC.
The CoA has also ordered that if BOPEU does not meet the threshold after the fresh determination, the 2016 Wage Negotiations shall resume with BOFEPUSU AJA as a sole party.
BOPEU was a member of PSBC through the BOFEPUSU AJA, but withdrew from the agreement following its decision to de-affiliate from BOFEPUSU in December last year.
However there are reports that indicate that the ongoing membership recruitment drive between the unions in the public service may lead to all unions failing to qualify due to dual membership.
Manual Workers Union membership may also be affected by the ongoing outsourcing government policy, which has seen a number of government employees losing their jobs.
“A lot of factors will come into play in determining the threshold, the issue of dual membership, members retiring from civil service and others have died,” said Motsamai.
Motsamai confirmed that BOPEU has been on a membership recruitment drive, and he has been informed the numbers are good enough to meet the threshold for participation in the PSBC.
The former BOFEPUSU Secretary General also highlighted that should BOPEU fail to meet the threshold it will consider the CoA ruling which stated that BOPEU may amalgamate with smaller unions for the purpose of meeting the threshold.
“We can confirm that, the emotions are still stirred up, some in the leadership are unable to see the woods for the trees. We would therefore wait for emotions to subside and await engagement on serious worker issues,” he said.
Should BOPEU meet the threshold, it will bring along its new allies in the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) among them Botswana Government Employees Union (BOGOU), Botswana Nurse Union (BONU) and Trainers and Allied Workers Unions (TAWU).
Motsamai said BOFEPUSU had tried to bully it during the case by insisting through its advocate that BOPEU must pay the costs of suit for BOFEPUSU.
“We are happy the Court of Appeal rejected this proposition to burden our union with cost as an attempt to bully us from pursuing justice. We have high regard for the courts and we will continue to uphold their rulings. In essence that is what the rule of law is all about,” he said.
BOFEPUSU had also argued that the withdrawal of BOPEU in the BOFEPUSU AJA essentially means it will not be admitted to the council because it does not meet the threshold to continue being in the PSBC. The CoA verdict however gives BOPEU a lifeline with an order of fresh determination.
While Motsamai has denied that the case between BOPEU and BOFEPUSU affiliates was about egos on their part, he ruled out the possibility of returning to the mother body as a gesture of mending relations.
He said the process which was undertaken to de-affiliate from BOFEPUSU was tedious, and only the congress has the power to do so.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.