The President’s power to determine conditions of service and salary adjustment for the public service would be reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal in Gaborone later this Month or early February as the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) seeks clarity of labour laws.
The federation has hired an advocate attorney from the neighbouring South Africa to help them settle the matter.
“There seems to be confusions as to whether there are two centres of power with respect to issues of adjusting conditions of public service, whether the President has the power on the other hand and the National Bargaining Council given the same powers on the other. It is an issue of law which we want the court to clarify,” confirmed BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari.
The confusion on the Presidential powers came about after President Ian Khama Seretse Khama and later the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) made pronouncement to the effect that there was going to be a salary increment ahead of last year’s general elections. Although many public service employees welcomed the four percent salary adjustment, BOFEPUSU was not happy because at the time of the announcement the national Bargaining Council was on and the negotiations were not yet finalised.
According to Rari, the case is of great importance to the public service because it would be testing labour laws that have not been tested before.
“If the court finds out that indeed there are two centres of power, then we have to reaffirm our participation in the bargaining council and that would mean a lot in the bargaining process in this country. So we believe it is a big case,” Rari added. The union has already submitted its proposal for salary and condition of service adjustment to the bargaining council ahead of national budget expected next Month.
Another case that will be heard before the appeal’s court on the same date is that of the government withdrawal of the secondment of Secretary Generals of BOFEPUSU member unions from their respective union offices. The Secretary Generals involved include that of the Botswana Sector of Educator’s Union (BOSETU), Botswana Teacher’s Union (BTU) and Botswana Landboards, Local Authorities and Health Workers union (BLLAHWU) who according to DPSM had to be withdrawn from their current offices as they had allegedly violated public service rules and uttered political statements.
The government appealed the matter after the High court ruled in favour of the union last year.
Since the two months historical public service strike of 2011, which caused close to 300 permanent job losses of some of the strikers, BOFEPUSU has been resolving their differences with their employer, DPSM, through the courts instead.
Rari has admitted in this week’s interview that the courts have been more effective as they had reshaped the country’s labour laws and that the union’s management wrongly handled its political involvement in last year’s general elections.
“Civil servants are a homogenous group, bound by a common interest. They acted together in unison when they went on strike and when they voted in the last general elections. It was a lesson that you cannot antagonise employees,” Rari further contended.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.