Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has not reinstated the former Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) employees who were fired, despite parliament passing a motion which called for their immediate reinstatement pending investigations.
Recently, parliament passed a motion in which Francistown West Member of Parliament Ignatius Moswaane had requested that government suspend termination of contracts of some BNYC employees until investigations were completed. Following the controversial ongoing restructuring process, BNYC Executive Director Benjamin Raletsatsi wrote to 33 employees informing them that their contracts would not be renewed.
However, this publication has learnt that, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Ntabeni Malikongwa had instructed Raletsatsi not to renew the contracts ending in February 2015 with the exception of some identified officers at BNYC Headquarters. This has raised tension within the BNYC with suggestion that Raletsatsi was being used by the PS.
According to the BNYC governance structure the Executive Secretary reports to the organizations’ Executive Committee which is elected every two years. The Executive Committee is currently headed by Benedice Louis Sibanda, who is the Chairperson.
The reinstatement of the employees was to take place after the motion was agreed by Parliament that government should re-employ them with immediate effect pending the investigation into the affairs of the organization. Opposition MPs had wanted parliament to set up a Special Select Committee to investigate the alleged corruption and maladministration instead of government itself conducting the investigation.
There are also new fears that with government being tasked with the investigation, the end result would prove to be futile.
Government had in the past been accused of not acting on motions agreed by parliament to investigate maladministration or alleged corruption within government organs. It is believed that Minister Thapelo Olopeng is behind the letter signed by Malikongwa on the 26th of January this year instructing the BNYC not to renew the contracts of the 33 employees as part of the restructuring.
Olopeng was however one of the MPs who supported the motion tabled by Moswaane. According to the presentation of alleged maladministration at BNYC by Moswaane, a number of events happened during the time when Shaw Kgathi was still the minister of Youth, Sports and Culture. Kgathi has since been moved to Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security following the 2014 general elections.
Disgruntled employees whose contracts were not renewed have threatened to drag the organisation to court if they are not reinstated within a reasonable time as per the endorsement by parliament. Although the motion to investigate corruption, and maladministration at BNYC was endorsed two weeks ago, key people who are implicated in the management of the organisation remain at the helm of their posts.
The Executive Director’s businesses have also been implicated in misuse of the organisation’s money. Evidence linking the above inference is verified by an event in which an invoice was sent to BNYC for payment of providing training, upon making a follow-up on the payment enquired, the person who had answered the phone was an employee at a Samsung Shop at the Rail Park Mall, owned by BNYC Executive Director, parliament heard few weeks ago.
According to information reaching this publication, scores of former BNYC employees who had their contracts terminated are currently servicing their loans which they acquired through the assistance of their employer. It is understood that BNYC facilitated the loans of its employees with BSB and Barclays a few years ago, with the belief that their contracts were performance based and they were almost guaranteed renewal since the employer never raised any discontent with their performance.
“We are of the view that the employer breached the contract, the termination was not based on performance. Performance issues were never raised before,” said a former employee whose name is withheld to protect their identity.
Contacted for comment, chairperson of the BNYC executive committee, Louis Sibanda could not comment on the issues surrounding termination of the contracts of 33 employees at BNYC on the basis that he was never part of the decision. “As the chairperson, I do not deal with the administration issues. The restructuring process was an instruction from the Ministry and they are the best people suited to have a say on the status of the employees whose contracts were terminated,” he said.
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 reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ 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 publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas 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,â€ť 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.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
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.
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.