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BLLAHWU’s non-nursing duties case dismissed

BLLAHWU represented by Kewagamang Rantao Attorneys


Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) yesterday had their application on nursing duties dismissed by Judge Mercy Garekwe of the Lobatse High Court.


The Union had complained against Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) on alleging that nurses are overwhelmed by work that fall outside their scope.


When dismissing the application, Judge Garekwe said the applicants did not file any document that shows the job description of nurses or midwifes or any contract to substantiate that indeed the aforementioned are performing duties that they should not do.


“During the first hearing of the matter, the Court registered its discomfort with the papers as filed, and called upon the Applicant to supplement its papers, if so advised, and make argument on the next court sitting, the applicants after advising itself advising itself properly, resolved not to do either and called upon the Court to make its decision based on the papers as they stand,” said Judge Garekwe.


She further outlined that it is not for the court to make a case for the applicants but for the applicants, who choose application proceedings to fully ventilate its case in the papers filed.


“There is virtually no proof that all the listed duties are currently performed or were ever performed by all nurses or some nurses,” added Judge Garekwe.


BLLAHWU represented by Kewagamang Rantao Attorneys in October last year filed an application by the High Court seeking an order declaring that medical consultation of patients which includes prescription of drugs, ordering of laboratory specimen such as blood, stool, sputum and urine should be done by an authorized prescribed practitioner other than the general nursing personnel as it is done today.


The application further declared that the court should relieve nurses from screening patients, registration of births and deaths, computerization of client’s data and preparing departmental annual estimates based on overall manpower and material needs projects, past expenditure and presenting it to the head of the department for consideration among others.


It was also affirmed in the application that, Regulation 5 of the Nurses and Midwifery (Professional Ethics and Practice) Regulations of 2011 prohibits a nurse or a midwife from attending to a patient where the attention required falls outside the scope of practice of the nurse or midwife.

It is only in exceptional circumstances provided for in Regulation 5 that a nurse can perform such functions and following such performance, ought to report the facts of the case in writing to his or her immediate supervisor “as soon as is practicable” after attending to a patient in the circumstances referred to. 


When dismissing the aforementioned Regulation Judge Garekwe said, “What I do not seem to understand, especially when dealing with the Regulations under discussion is the hidden suggestion by the applicant and its expert that a nurse, assisting a deserving patient and at times saving a life of such a patient and at times saving a life of such a patient by undertaking duties that fall outside his/her registered scope, but as mandated by the Regulation, is a waste of time.”


In an effort to solidify their facts again, the applicants also filed a 2008 Savingram that this publication is in possession of from the then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Thato Y. Raphaka that stated that health facilities provide preventive as well as curative services and are manned mostly by nursing staff because of shortage of doctors, pharmacists/pharmacy technicians and laboratory technicians.


He also added that the Anti – Retroviral Therapy (ARV) roll – out has also added to the workload of nurses. “The Ministry of Local Government is planning to roll – out ARVs to 128 clinics by March 2009 and because of shortage of pharmaceutical officers, in 2007/2008 we trained 95 nurses to carry out the function of prescribing and dispensing ARVs,” reads part of the Savingram from Mr. Raphaka that was directed to DPSM and copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry and BLLAHWU President.


Mr. Raphaka at the end, on behalf of the Ministry of Local Government requested DPSM to address the plight of the nursing staff.


Complications in the determination and working of the non – nursing duties as always been the case dates back to the years of 2007 and 2008 between the government and unions with letters and meetings between the parties but any amiable solution was reached throughout these years, it was upon those reasons that on the 2nd of July 2014 when BLLAHWU passed a resolution that it should file an application by the High Court against DPSM that the court dismissed yesterday.

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Veteran journalist Karima Brown succumbs to COVID-19

4th March 2021
Karima-Brown

South Africa’s veteran journalist and broadcaster, Karima Brown has died on Thursday morning from COVID-19 related complications.

Media reports from the neighbouring country say Brown had been hospitalized and on a ventilator.

Brown anchored eNCA’s The Fix and was a regular political analyst on the eNCA channel.

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Botswana imports in numbers

1st March 2021
Botswana-imports

For so many years, Botswana has been trying to be a self-sufficient country that is able to provide its citizens with locally produced food products. Through appropriate collaborations with parastatals such as CEDA, ISPAAD and LEA, government introduced initiatives such as the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy-IAS and other funding facilities to facilitate horticultural farmers to increase production levels.

Now that COVID-19 took over and disrupted the food value chain across all economies, Botswana government introduced these initiatives to reduce the import bill by enhancing local market and relieve horticultural farmers from loses or impacts associated with the pandemic.

In more concerted efforts to curb these food crises in the country, government extended the ploughing period for the Southern part of Botswana. The extension was due to the late start of rains in the Southern part of the country.

Last week the Ministry of Agriculture extended the ploughing period for the Northern part of the country, mainly because of rains recently experienced in the country. With these decisions taken urgently, government optimizes food security and reliance on local food production.

When pigs fly, Botswana will be able to produce food to feed its people. This is evident by the numbers released by Statistics Botswana on imports recorded in November 2020, on their International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month under review.

The numbers say Botswana continues to import most of its food from neighbouring South Africa. Not only that, Batswana relies on South Africa to have something to smoke, to drink and even use as machinery.

According to data from Statistics Botswana, the country’s total imports amounted to P6.881 Million. Diamonds contributed to the total imports at 33%, which is equivalent to P2.3 Million. This was followed by food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment which stood at P912 Million and P790 Million respectively.

Most of these commodities were imported from The Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The Union supplied Botswana with imports valued at over P4.8 Million of Botswana’s imports for the month under review (November 2020). The top most imported commodity group from SACU region was food, beverages and tobacco, with a contribution of P864 Million, which is likely to be around 18.1% of the total imports from the region.

Diamonds and fuel, according to these statistics, contributed 16.0%, or P766 Million and 13.5% or P645 Million respectively. Botswana also showed a strong and desperate reliance on neighbouring South Africa for important commodities. Even though the borders between the two countries in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, government took a decision to open border gates for essential services which included the transportation of commodities such as food.

Imports from South Africa recorded in November 2020 stood at P4.615 Million, which accounted for 67.1% of total imports during the month under review. Still from that country, Botswana bought food, beverages and tobacco worth P844 Million (18.3%), diamonds, machinery and fuel worth P758 Million, P601 Million and P562 Million respectively.

Botswana also imported chemicals and rubber products that made a contribution of 11.7% (P542.2 Million) to total imports from South Africa during the month under review, (November 2020).

The European Union also came to Botswana’s rescue in the previous year. Botswana received imports worth P698.3 Million from the EU, accounting for 10.1% of the total imports during the same month. The major group commodity imported from the EU was diamonds, accounting for 86.9% (P606.6 Million), of imports from the Union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, at 8.9% (P609.1 Million) of total imports during the period under review.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Thapelo Matsheka says an improvement in exports and commodity prices will drive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is anticipated to recover modestly to 3.2% in 2021. Matsheka said this when delivering the Annual Budget Speech virtually in Gaborone on the 1st of February 2021.

He said implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which became operational in January 2021, could reduce the region’s vulnerability to global disruptions, as well as deepen trade and economic integration.

“This could also help boost competition and productivity. Successful implementation of AfCFTA will, of necessity, require Member States to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and generally make it easier to do business and invest across borders.”

Matsheka, who is also a Member of Parliament for Lobatse, an ailing town which houses the struggling biggest meat processing company in the country- Botswana Meat Commission, (BMC), said the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recognizes the need to prioritize the key processes required for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

“The revised SACU Tariff Offer, which comprises 5,988 product lines with agreed Rules of Origin, representing 77% of the SACU Tariff Book, was submitted to the African Union Commission (AUC) in November 2020. The government is in the process of evaluating the tariff offers of other AfCFTA members prior to ratification, following which Botswana’s participation in AfCFTA will come to effect.”

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Sheila Tlou: On why women don’t get votes

1st March 2021
Sheila Tlou

BARAPEDI KEDIKILWE

Women continue to shadow men in politics – stereotypes such as ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ cast the notion that women cannot lead. The 2019 general election recorded one of Botswana’s worst performances when it comes to women participation in parliamentary democracy with only three women elected to parliament.

Botswana’s former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou who is currently the Co-Chair, Global HIV Prevention Coalition & Nursing Now and an HIV, Gender & Human Rights Activist is not amused by the status quo. Tlou attributes this dilemma facing women to a number of factors, which she is convinced influence the voting patterns of Batswana when it comes to women politicians.

Professor Tlou plugs the party level voting systems as the first hindrance that blocks women from ascending to power. According to the former Minister of Health, there is inadequate amount of professionalism due to corrupt internal party structures affecting the voters roll and ultimately leading to voter apathy for those who end up struck off the voters rolls under dubious circumstances.

Tlou also stated that women’s campaigns are often clean; whilst men put to play the ‘politics is dirty metaphor using financial muscle to buy voters into voting for them without taking into consideration their abilities and credibility. The biggest hurdle according to Tlou is the fallacy that ‘Women cannot lead’, which is also perpetuated by other women who discourage people from voting for women.

There are numerous factors put on the table when scrutinizing a woman, she can be either too old, or too young, or her marital status can be used against her. An unmarried woman is labelled as a failure and questioned on how she intends on being a leader when she failed to have a home. The list is endless including slut shaming women who have either been through a divorce or on to their second marriages, Tlou observed.

The only way that voters can be emancipated from this mentality according to Tlou is through a robust voter education campaign tailor made to run continuously and not be left to the eve of elections as it is usually done. She further stated that the current crop of women in parliament must show case their abilities and magnify them – this will help make it clear that they too are worthy of votes.

And to women intending to run for office, Tlou encouraged them not to wait for the eleventh hour to show their interest and rather start in community mobilisation projects as early as possible so that the constituents can get to know them and their abilities prior to the election date.

Youthful Botswana National Front (BNF) leader and feminist, Resego Kgosidintsi blames women’s mentality towards one another which emanates from the fact that women have been socialised from a tender age that they cannot be leaders hence they find it difficult to vote for each other.

Kgosidintsi further states that, “Women do not have enough economic resources to stage effective campaigns. They are deemed as the natural care givers and would rather divert their funds towards raising children and building homes over buying campaign materials.”

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Wynter Mmolotsi agrees that women’s participation in politics in Botswana remains a challenge. To address this Mmolotsi suggested that there should be constituencies reserved for women candidates only so that the outcome regardless of the party should deliver a woman Member of Parliament.

Mmolotsi further suggested that Botswana should ditch the First Past the Post system of election and opt for the proportional representation where contesting parties will dutifully list able women as their representatives in parliament.

On why women do not get elected, Mmolotsi explained that he had heard first hand from voters that they are reluctant to vote for women since they have limited access to them once they have won; unlike their male counterparts who have proven to be available night or day.

The pre-historic awarding of gender roles relegating women to be pregnant and barefoot at home and the man to be out there fending for the family has disadvantaged women in political and other professional careers.

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