Judge Kebonang rules in favour of BTU, Principal Education Officers
Government has lost with costs a case in which the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) was challenging its decision to review teachers’ salaries which resulted in School Heads earning more than their supervisors, Principal Education Officers II.
In 2013 government introduced Levels of Operation (LOO) which dealt with among other things, the adjustment of salary structures for teachers. This resulted in School Heads’ salaries being adjusted upwards. The increment of School Heads’ salaries however created an anomaly in which their earnings surpassed that of their supervisors.
The applicants in the case, Tshiamo Ndebele and 186 others, backed by BTU, approached the court to contend that the inclusion of School Heads as beneficiaries has conferred on them a legitimate expectation that they too would benefit from the implementation of the Cabinet Directive.
The applicants also argued that while not all Principal Education Officers supervised School Heads, they were nonetheless remunerated higher than School Heads and that whenever the salaries of School Heads were adjusted, they too automatically benefitted from such adjustments.
Mokwadi Teisi, currently employed by the Ministry of Education and Skills Development as Principal Education Officer II testified before court that prior to being promoted to the position of Principal Education Officer II, he had held the position of the School head in various schools in Botswana.
Teisi told the court that Principal Education Officer positions were senior to School Heads positions in terms of remuneration; responsibility; accountability and general status.
Teisi was also of the view that it would not only be criminal if School Heads were to earn more that Principal Education Officers because that would erode the power and strength of the supervisor and thus compromise the supervision. “It would also go against previous practices by government when it came to adjustments of salaries of School Heads and Principal Education Officers,” he said.
Matlhogonolo Mokakapadi, who testified for government stated that the applicants did not benefit from salary adjustment effected by LOO because they were not teachers. Mokakapadi however agreed that in the past whenever Government adjusted School Heads salaries, it extended the same to Principal Education Officers.
Initially LOO was not meant to include School Heads, but government resolved to make them beneficiaries when it was implemented therefore creating the anomaly which was the centre of dispute where School Heads had now risen above their supervisors in earnings.
In delivering judgement, Acting Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang said the decision by Cabinet to extent coverage to school heads cannot be said to have been improper or unlawful nor was it the decision of the court to dictate how government ought to have exercised its executive authority.
“Government is always at liberty to change or vary the contents of its Directive and include beneficiaries that may not have initially been covered by it,” said Judge Kebonang, “But when it does so, it runs the very risk of generating expectation which when not met gives rise to claims of unfairness as has happened in this case.”
Kebonang stated that though Government exercised its discretion to confer a benefit on School Heads, it should then have been mindful of the fact that its action may translate into creating a legitimate expectation for other similarly situated groups. “Measured against past experience, the decision to adjust salaries for School Heads and exclude Principal Education Officers was unreasonable as to unlawful,” he said.
Judge Dr Kebonang ruled that Principal Education Officers II shall be graded above School Heads and be entitled to all the benefits arising from the application of the Cabinet Directive on LOO as communicated by Grace Muzila in her capacity as the then Permanent Secretary of MoESD.
Kebonang also made a ruling that Principal Education Officers I, be graded above Principal Education Officers II and be entitled to all the benefits arising from the application of the same Cabinet Directive on LOO.
Government was instructed to pay the costs of the application and ordered that the ruling on the matters which were before court be put into operation with immediate effect.
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.