Councillors around the country from accross the political divide are of the view that Cabinet rejected the proposal to have their salaries increased and only opted to re-adjust salaries for Members of Parliament and the Cabinet. Some point out that the decision has de-motivated them and have a serious backlash politically.
Following a six percent increase in salaries of public servants in April this year, Parliament approved increases of close to 40 percent for the President, Vice President, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament. Members of Parliament have conveniently justified their salary increase indicating that they are the lowest earning in the SADC region.
Most councillors who spoke to Weekend Post are of the view that the decision to increase salaries stemmed from the Dibotelo Commission which had made prescriptive recommendations on how politicians should be remunerated. It emphasised the need to look into the Politicians Salaries and made certain recommendations. Councillors earnings were to be realigned by 57 percent while MPs and Cabinet were at around 30 percent.
The Botswana Association of Local Authtorities (BALA) Chairperson , Mpho Moruakgomo said he was dissapointed that Councillors have once again been left behind. He said what they have been given is is far below what they expected.
“My view has always been that politiians should be respected as they are key to the lives of citizens. We should start by paying politicians well so that the world of politics may attract dignified men and women of substance who will be able to bring about change to the lives of the masses,” he observed.
Moruakgomo said they are unhappy at the recent realignment which benefitted the MPs and Cabinet members more as compared to councillors. “We will continue to engage the powers that be to look into this issue because Councillors do a lot of work but go unnoticed,” he said.
South East District Council, Phenyo Segokgo told this publication that the recent salary increment for Members of Parliament and Cabinet has widened income gap between MPs and Councillors.
“Councillors do a lot of ground work. They interact with the people on daily basis and make sure that services reach every one. Take an example of a Gaborone Mayor, he covers all the five constituencies whilst an MP is answerable to one constituency,” he said.
He added that the Councillors deserve to be rewarded as much as MPs because they are also responsible for formulating policies and implementing bylaws. “I agree with Councillors that we deserve better packages than the current.” Segokgo is a member of the country’s main opposition party, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Kgatleng District Council Chairperson, Mpho Morolong said they have given up on attaining better salaries, “It seems Councillors will never get a better pay, my view is that atleast we should be given Council transport and offices to conduct our duties instead of relying on these peanuts and ward allowances which are nothing but a rip off considering our heavy workload,” he said.
After the passing of the National Assembly Salaries and Allowances Amendment Bill of 2015 three months ago, President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s salary was increased by 26 percent to P651, 348 per annum while Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi also had his salary increased to P501, 216 per annum or P41, 768 per month.
Meanwhile, cabinet ministers and the Speaker now earn P439, 656 per annum which translate to P36, 638 monthly. The leader of Opposition has his new salary pegged at P30, 891 per month or P370, 692 per annum, on par with that of assistant ministers and Deputy Speaker.
â€¨â€¨Ordinary Members of Parliament got their salaries increased by at least 32 percent from 201, 565.00 in 2014 to P266, 460 annually effective May this year. Under the new salaries, the chairpersons of parliamentary committees will receive a daily allowance of P59.31 if the committee conducts business on a day that Parliament is not sitting.
The Members of Parliament have also had allowances such as constituency, hospitality, communication and acting allowance increased by six percent.
Public sector unions have blasted members of Parliament for “selfishly” increasing their salaries double figures after failing to support the unions’ plea of a 16 percent salary hike. The Bargaining Council only approved a 6 percent salary increase for public servants. Currently employees of Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) are on strike demanding an 11 percent salary increase.
There has not been a formal statement from various political representations at Parliament on the subject of salary increases save for individual knee-jerk reactions from MPs. â€¨
The decision to increase the salaries according to Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlhogile Tshireletso was a decision that was taken by the all party caucus.
“MPs voted with one voice and it is not true that Councillors did not get anything, they were part of the readjustment,” she said.
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.