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BEC, BOPEU clash over staff salaries

BEC- Prof Brain Mokopakgosi

Botswana Examination Council (BEC) has requested that the High Court dismiss a case brought before it by Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) regarding staff salary disparities following the 2013 resolution.

In a responding affidavit, BEC through its lawyers, Moeletsi Attorneys, contend that there was no need for BOPEU to have brought the matter before the court because the process to address complaints resulting from the exercise of addressing salary disparities is ongoing.

BOPEU had taken BEC to seek full compliance with the governing council structure of BEC resolution of June 19, 2013 which recommended that the council deal away with salary disparities among its staff.

“I am advised and verily believe the same is true that this application is improper and incompetent in that the Applicant ask the court to direct the council, as an employer, on how it should manage its affairs,” reads the affidavit in part.

BEC has stated that from the beginning the decision to institute a pay roll analysis to gauge the state of rewards management and the extent at which the organisation was in compliance with best practices was its own initiative.

“It was the council on its own that resolved to embark on an exercise that would remove salary disparities in its pay structure. The applicant did not go to court to compel it to make the resolution,” it says.  

BEC added that the analysis uncovered a number of inconsistencies which were indicative of the existence of unfair practices in rewards management at the council.

“In order to reduce unjustifiable pay disparities uncovered by the 2013 pay roll analysis, the council decided to embark on an exercise that would reduce these disparities, improve pay progression, and promote equity and fairness, and ultimately improve staff retention.”

BEC noted  that one of aims of management recommendations on salary disparities was to; deal away with a situation where subordinates earned more that supervisors, and that the exercise does not result in further unjustifiable salary disparities.

The Examinations Council admits that it failed to carry out its plans due to acute budgetary constraints which ensured the second phase was supposed to be implemented in April 2014.

“After consultation with staff representatives a decision was taken to postpone the implementation of this exercise. Unfortunately in 2015, the council’s budget allocation was inadequate to fund its normal operations the result of which was further postponement of the exercise,” the council stated.

BEC remarked that at the beginning of this financial year, despite low budget, they went ahead with the implementation of the exercise, a result of which a number of employees were affected.

The affidavit also states that BOPEU had wanted to halt the process, and further wanted to be involved through vetting the process, the demands it both rejected.

“The council was of the view that, what was being requested was an encroachment into the duties and responsibilities of the council as an employer,” they stated.

“In the council’s view, vetting an exercise such as this one will entail the release of individual employee payroll information to third parties without their consent.”

BEC said it had already put in place the process of considering appeals from employees arising from the implementation of the exercise. BEC contend that BOPEU brought the matter to court prematurely since the implementation was still being finalised.

“Although an undertaking was made to implement the exercise effective 1st April, it was absolutely necessary to allow the appeals process that would allow those who would not be satisfied with the process to submit their appeals,” BEC said.

Motsamai wrote in the founding affidavit that BEC has failed to honour the recommendation of the Human Resource Committee (HRC) despite having given the employees letters informing them about the development.

“In 2013 all concerned staff were then given half of the increase they were entitled to with the reason that the other half was to be effected the following year, while those entitled to an increase of three percent as per the resolution have to date not received their increment,” states Motsamai’s affidavit.

BEC told the court that, it is in agreement with BOPEU and the only difference is that it wanted more time to deal with the issue of implementation of the salary adjustment.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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