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Date set for unions, Khama salary adjustment case

High Court to determine President’s powers

A case in which the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) is contesting the 2014 salary adjustment is set to be argued on the 8th of June 2015 at the Lobatse High Court.  


The Federation has dragged President Ian Khama, Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) and Attorney General before the court for increasing the public servants’ salaries in 2014 without the input of the Public Service Bargaining Council.


According to the applicants’ Attorney, Mr. Mboki Chilisa, President Lt Gen Ian Khama “went and stated in bad faith the 4% Public Servants salary increment thus by–passing the negotiation process that was done by the Bargaining Council as agreed and mandated by both the unions and government”.  


“President went all over the country announcing the salary increment before the bargaining council could sit and decide,” said Chilisa.


In an interview with WeekendPost, Chilisa said they were supposed to have met government representatives a fortnight ago to try and come up with an amicable solution to the matter but the government did not honour the meeting as agreed and ordered by the Court of Appeal.


Chilisa also expressed that the government through the Attorney General does not take unions seriously. He indicated that the fact that they called their office to confirm the meeting rather than reply in writing as it was done by the union representatives is testimony of government’s negative attitude towards unions.


He said government representatives were also absent during the roll call up in court without any communication and without any affidavit filed from their side.


In 2004 BOFEPUSU and other unions filed an urgent application declaring that the conduct of the President constituted a breach on the duty of the Bargaining Council to negotiate the salary increment in good faith. However the High Court dismissed the application on the grounds that it was not urgent. BOFEPUSU later appealed the matter.


On the 5th of February 2015, Court of Appeal Judges, I. S Kirby, J. G Foxcroft and I. B. K Lesetedi passed a judgment that the High Court should hear the merits of the case for both parties albeit dismissing the urgency of the matter.
The Court of Appeal also noted that Judge Leburu who presided over the matter at the High Court had the discretion to refuse the urgent interdicts.


On allowing the application to proceed, the Judge would determine whether, under the new bargaining regime government may continue to unilaterally grant improvements to conditions of service of its staff, in accordance with the national budget and other constraints when negotiations were not in progress, and the extent of the President’s powers in relation to the conditions of service of public officers as outlined by Section 12 of the Public Service Act among other arguments.  


It was also noted the President announced at a Kgotla meeting that there would be a salary increase of 4% for public servants starting from April 2014.  The court heard that the announcement was made in March 2014 before the 2014/15 wage negotiations could commence on the 10th of April 2014.


Section 12 of the Public Service Act that was brought to the spotlight by Mr. D. Moloise for the respondents reads thus; “The exercise of any powers or the performance of any duties under this Act shall be subject to such directions of the President as the President may consider necessary.”


In 2015/16 financial year the bargaining council successfully convened and agreed to a 6% salary increment across the board including other benefits like monthly allowance and fee for the public servants.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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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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