The two main Labour movements; Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) have submitted proposals calling the government to protect the workers as Coronavirus continues to ravage the world.
In a position paper that WeekendPost is in possession of, the unions say they have been monitoring developments within Africa and globally as daily reports have been posted regarding the spread of the virus and interventions being imposed.Â â€œAs trade union federations of Botswana we have noted and are very much concerned about the fact that the government has been lacklustre in coming forth with proposals for tripartite discussion regarding workers welfare and proposals geared towards protection of employees from loss of wages and jobs,â€ reads the position paper.
While the government claims to be busy trying to come up with the best measure to combat the disease, the unions dismiss those attempts.Â â€œWe plead that the measure in place be strengthened by also ensuring that facilities that would allow for internal restrictions and testing are put in place,â€ unions suggested. Furthermore the unions are calling on the government to, as a matter of urgency disclose information relating to suggestions of interventions that would be adequate for implementation to protect the workers and businesses during the pandemic.
The unions say the government must issue a directive for land lords, especially commercial land lords, to give tenants a six month free lease period. The government must also ensure paid sick leaves for those in isolation especially in the private sector and also provision of income support for housing, food, and water for all workers, the two unions stated in the position paper. â€œSalary and payments should be made to workers who are unable to work due to quarantine or illness,â€ suggests the paper.
The two federations continue to say a parent who needs to stay home to look after the children because of school shutdown automatically qualifies for a 14 day full paid sick leave. â€œOnly one parent at a time could be entitled to this benefit.â€ The two unions which have been quiet are also calling for the delay of tax payment. â€œEnforcement measures or late payments of taxes should be allowed until 31st December 2020, as long as the debtor of a tax payment due is directly affected by the effects of Corona Virus.â€
The position paper released on the 25th of this month says government must put in place measures to protect the general public from excessive price escalations for the next six months.Â The recently approved government budget that is supposed to commence next week must also be reviewed in light of the impact analysis of the corona virus and funds should be directed from other sectors to combat the spread of the virus and economic issues arising from the same.
â€œAmount of money held by various funds in Botswana such as the Alcohol, HRDC training levy, plastic, disaster management funds and others must be shared with social partners and portions or whole amounts re-directed to the fight against the impact of the pandemic.Â Monies in the foreign reserves must also be used to support employees as well as private and informal sectors during this period,â€ added the position paper.
The trade federations also advised the government to implement lockdown as it has proven to be a tool key in reduction of the virus. â€œHowever Government must come out clear with measures that will protect the vulnerable during such period.â€
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.