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BLLAHWU sues Ministry over outstanding salaries

Secretary General of BLLAHWU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa

Members of Botswana Land Board, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) have this week taken the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRP) to High Court over payment of salary arrears. The government employees filed statutory notice through Moahi Attorneys and with the assistance of their union BLLAHWU. The matter is expected to be heard before the High Court soon.


At the heart of the matter is the non-payment of salary arrears which were agreed by both parties to be paid before end of October last year but to no avail. The employees owed are those in possession of National Craft Certificate (NCC) qualifications and who were working as Craftsmen or Technical Assistants prior to the implementation of Local Government Service Management Directive no. 3 of 2006 on 25 January 2006.


According to the directive which is referenced REF: U1/24 V (67) and issued to all Council Secretaries directing that entry grade of holders of NCC were to be raised to the pay scale of C4 – 1st notch. Secretary General of BLLAHWU Ketlhalefile Motshegwa told the WeekendPost this week that the issue has been dragging for a long time and as such asked for urgent address from government on the matter.


Motshegwa stated that, “the grievance that we are herein submitting is that there are employees who were upgraded late from the date of the stipulations of directive no.3 of 2013 and they have since been denied their arrears which they are entitled to in respect of the period of the date of the directive and the date when they were upgraded accordingly.”


In addition there is another category of employees who even up to now though holding NCC has not been upgraded as per the directive no. 3 of 2006, BLLAHWU Secretary General further stated.


According to the settlement certificate presented to this publication, the parties have resolved the dispute by agreeing that “the respondent that is Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Directorate of Public service Management, pay the applicants being holders of NCC who are eligible for the arrears deemed category 1 – who prior to 25 January 2006 had NCC and worked as Senior Technical Assistants/Craftsman, and category 5 – who were erroneously put at a lower scale. It was further then agreed that the amount/arrears will be paid on or before 30 October 2014, which is now overdue.


“..all payments should have been made by 30 October 2014 hence you are directed to observe this deadline. Proof of payment should be submitted to the ministry by 7 November 2014,” stated the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Boipolelo Khumomatlhare.


The parties had earlier agreed that in terms of the court decision in a case of Central District Council (CDC) vs Benjamin Mphitlhang, only employees in possession of NCC and worked as craftsmen or Technical Assistants prior to the implementation of Local Government Service Management Directive no. 3 of 2006 on 25 January 2006 – are eligible for payment of salary arrears.


The employers (MLGRD and DPSM) were as such directed to upgrade with immediate effect eligible officers who fall in that category to C4 salary scale, and pay them salary arrears from 25 January 2006. It was also agreed that eligible employees who have already been upgraded/promoted should be paid salary arrears from 25 January 2006 to the date of their upgrading/promotion.


Although some employees were upgraded and paid accordingly, many are still in the lurch and await court judgment after they decided to go court route.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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