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Khama: High birthrate strains budget

He says Batswana are giving birth at an alarming rate

President Lt Gen Ian Khama has revealed that his government has noticed that high birthrate is straining the national budget. The President was speaking at an inhouse meeting with public servants in the Kweneng region.


Khama took swipe at ‘Botswana’s high birth rate, almost blaming it for the strained budget. Botswana has a birth rate of 21.34 births/1,000 population.


“Batswana are giving birth at an alarming rate and our budget can’t keep up with the high birthrate. High birthrate means more clinics and classrooms which means more teachers and nurses and that means money,” the President said.


Government scales down civil service
The President also revealed that his government is also scaling down the public service hence retiring and resigning public servants will not be replaced. As a result any hope of the unemployed youth taking over from retiring civil servants have been dashed.


Botswana’s unemployement rate is estimated at around 17 percent, a figure that many say is incompatible with the Botswana’s economic status owing to its small population. The President, revealed in an inhouse meeting with Kweneng public servants that his government desperately wants to cut down the public service.


 “We are already doing it and we will not be firing or retrenching anyone but we have instead opted not to replace voluntary exits like those resigning and retiring,” he said at Ntsweletau Primary School on Thursday.


Khama was responding to a question relating to ‘acute shortage of staff hence poor service delivery’ by the public servants. He pointed out: “You see I did not retrench you during the economic meltdown despite your irritable toyi-toying and frequent calls for regime change because I was mindful of your situations and lives,” he added.


Khama said the country’s budget is burdened hence the decision to trim down the public service, a move he ascribed to slow developments in the country. “We have a wage bill of 16/17 million Pula from a 54 billion budget. You are five percent of the population which is hundred and thirty thousand. So we have to balance this because if we irrationally hike your salaries other components will suffer,” he said.


Khama who has been blamed for making overiding statements and remarks in relation to salary negotiations treaded carefully on the matter. “You see we have made our proposal to the Public Service Bargaining Council and we are ready to effect it by the 1st of April. As you may be aware the PSBC is ongoing and as you know them they might refuse the offer but its up to them,” he said to the deafening silence of his audience.


Khama also had words of caution for teachers when he heared them say they have stopped participating in extra curriculum activities as adviced by their unions.


“Thats unkind.You did not suffer the injustices you are subjecting the innocent students in your younger school days but you will agree with me that the conditions that the then teachers worked under during those times were worse than yours today.You are making life difficult for us,” he said.


Khama against teachers’ overtime demands
Khama revealed that he told his Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who was tasked with turning the Ministry of Education and Skills Development woes around that the fifteen percent overtime allowance demanded by the teachers is too much and will not be realised. “We have about 26 000 teachers in Botswana and  and you can imagine how much we will need if each is to get that overtime allowance, it will increase th wage bill,” he remarked.


Khama continued: “My position is simple, I told the authorities that we should leave the teachers to work for eight hours then hire other coaches who will be responsible for extra curriculum activities.”


He said that apart from from their demands, he feels that teachers are being overworked. “Imagine having to work after a normal school day, then be forced to go to the grounds, weekends and having to travel longer trips, its exhausting hence lets rest them.”


The President was however quick to add that he knows that his decision will rub some the wrong way. “I know that other teachers will not be happy at this because they want to increase income. Some even cook the books and this wories us because the overtime bill then goes up and that is an indirect salary increase that is not budgeted for,” he said.


His remark has rubbed Botswana Federation fo Public Service Union (BOFEPUSU) the wrong way as he predicted. In a brief interview, the Federation’s Secretrary General, Tobokani Rari said the decision does not pass the common sense test as it doesn’t solve anything but rather raises more questions than answers.


“If there is no money to pay the teachers overtime, where will government get the money to pay the said coaches? What we are saying is that let the teachers be remunerated as per the provisions of the Employment Act which stipulates that any work beyond the stipulated 8 hours a day should be compensated,” he said.


Rari added that the decision to engage outside coaches will haunt the government at a later stage as teachers have been trained to work with and nurture kids. He said children will eventually get abused by untrained coaches.


On downsizing of the public service, Rari said the already leaking public service is going down to the drain. “This raises questions of whether the government has been having people it doesn’t need. But at the end of it all, it is the public that will suffer poor service,” he said.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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