The President of the court of appeal, Ian Kirby and the Attorney general on Friday this week refused to be drawn into discussing the President’s prerogative rights in court during a case that involves the President and the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU).
Kirby has further revealed that the judgement on the matter may be delayed as he could not tell whether it would be ready when other judgments of the January court of appeal session are delivered on February 5th.
Kirby was leading a panel of three judges in a matter in which BOFEPUSU is challenging the High Court order that turned down their urgent application matter regarding President Ian Khama’s decision to announce Public Service salary increment during last year’s salary negotiation process.
BOFEPUSU’s attorney, advocate Alec Freunt of South Africa wanted the court to make a pronouncement on the powers of the President in regards to Public service salary and conditions of service adjustments. Responding to that, Kirby said he would need a panel of five judges to do so as the matter touches on the President’s prerogative powers and the constitution.
Meanwhile the Attorney general, represented by David Moloise refused to go into the merits of the case and argued that, he was only ready to contend against the appeal that was before the court, that is, the urgency matter.
However in his filed heads of argument, Moloise suggests that the President had the power to announce the four percent salary increment in March, 2014 during a kgotla meeting because the National Bargaining Council had not yet begun negotiations yet and that the rules governing the negotiations had also not been signed.
At the time of the pronouncement which was effected in April, 2014 there was a dispute over certain procedures and the Bargaining Council had reached a stale mate and called for a few weeks of breathing period.
However according to the State lawyer, the President considered that negotiations could go for a long time or stretch to another year and the civil service were burdened by inflation and could suffer as a result.
Moloise further suggested that the President being the head of state not only had the burden of running the nation but as a matter of “Public Policy”, had to perform a duty to act in the public interest as it was necessary.
But the Union contended that by so doing the President breached the government’s duty of bargaining in good faith and more so that when the pronouncement was made it was made clear that the salary increment would not go beyond the four percent due to budgetary constraints.
Nonetheless, Moloise would contend that there is no actual proof that the statements would have in any way influenced the process as the union had the onus of putting their argument and convincing the bargaining Council that they have a case for the result they seek.
He further mentioned in his filed document that the President is covered by law to act in the manner that he did.
According to Moloise, the council and more particular the Procedures for Meetings and Negotiations are not legally binding on the President especially when read with section 12 of the Public Service Act and therefore
Section 12 of the Public Service Act provides that “The exercise of any powers or the performance of any duties under this act shall be subjected to the general discretion of the President as the President may consider necessary.”
In the absence of anything that suggests a deviation from the discretionary power of the said section, the state believes that it should be therefore viewed as un-surped and its discretion superior and unfettered.
The Attorney General therefore requested that in interpreting the law, judges must not “usurp Parliamentary legislation functions.”
The constitution divides the state in to three wheels of power, the executive, legislature and the judiciary. The legislature’s main function is to enact laws whist the primary duty of the executive is to take charge of the conduct of the state of affairs and the judiciary adjudicates on disputes that may arise and to have a final word on the interpretation of the law.
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.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.