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BOFEPUSU teetering on the edge

Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) is anxiously walking on cliff edge after submitting its wage increment proposal almost a month late, flouting a Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) joint resolution. The Federation will meet the government counterparts this Monday to decide the way forward.

Verification of membership status of BOFEPUSU members as per the court instruction and agreement on rules of negotiation will pave the way to salary negotiations.

Resolution No. 3 of April 2015 jointly adopted by trade union party BOFEPUSU and the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) at PSBC states that, “negotiations on the proposed salary adjustment for all public service employees for the subsequent years should be undertaken between the months of September and October each year in order to align the public service negotiations with the Government Budgeting Process/Cycle.”

However, BOFEPUSU submitted its 2016/2017 13.5% salary adjustment proposal to DPSM on the 23rd of November daring resolution number 3 in its first year of implementation; a prospect that could see the trade union party negotiating on back foot inside the tit-for-tat and steely environs of Bargaining Council or at worst blowing into air the 2016/2017salary increments of 90 000 public service employees. Should DPSM pull the late submission ace card on BOFEPUSU, the next resolution-abiding window of opportunity for wage increment talks will be on the months of September and October 2016 for the 2017/2018 salary talks’ cycle.

However BOFEPUSU deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa states that the issue does not arise as it has thus far not risen because the salary negotiations have already been itemised at the Bargaining Council. Motshegwa says that the fact that the Bargaining Council Secretariat as well as the Bargaining Council itself has not objected to the late submission of the proposal means what is only left now is for the DPSM to defend the BOFEPUSU proposal.

He also continues that, “It is a mistake of (Bargaining) Council and the secretariat also did not alert Council.” He continues, “The employer also did not submit their counter proposal and they must always be on the counter at all times and it shows a lack of understanding for them to always wait for the unions to propose salary increment-every party has the right to propose wage hikes.”   

Motshegwa says that the reason for the late submission of the salary increment proposal was that BOPEPUSU encounters countless hitches as it depends on government as source of data that is necessary for the compilation of the wage proposition dossier. He also apportions blame to both BOFEPUSU and the Bargaining Council Secretariat as, “both did not subject themselves to due process.”

He also dismisses fear that public servants will be locked out of the 2015/2016 national budget process which is already being worked on by Ministry of Finance And

Development Planning’s Budget Administration, at BOFEPUSU’s own doing saying that the government conducts its national estimates and is aware that every year salary negotiations are conducted. Motshegwa also adds that in hindsight they have bought time for government as the actual implementation of the national budget is executed around the month of April and that the continual stately requests for additional supplements are vindication that government is flush with excess capital and it might as well stimulate pockets of the workers.”

However, a recent settlement agreement reached by BOFEPUSU and DPSM at the Industrial Court before Justice Diratsagae Molomo compels BOFEPUSU and DPSM to, convene and deliberate on Resolution No.3.  as a second agenda of discussion on the 18th January 2016,at 1400 hours, at the Public Service Bargaining Council.

Besides the late wage proposal submission, the wage talks have already been bogged down by a recent court case as well as its settlement agreement where BOFEPUSU wanted the Industrial Court to compel DPSM to come before the negotiations table after the collapse of the talks resultant of DPSM’s insistence on itemisation and discussion of an agenda termed ‘Parties to the Council’ that sought to discuss the disaffiliation of Botswana Public Employees (BOPEU) from BOFEPUSU.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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