This week we answer questions about the Jesus dynasty
THE TERM “HOLY GRAIL” HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH JESUS PARTICULARY SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THE BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL THE DA VINCI CODE BY DAN BROWN. COULD YOU PLEASE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT? The term “Holy Grail” derives from the French word Sangreal, which means “Blood Royal” or, the other way round, “Royal Blood”. It referred to the House of Judah, the Jewish royal line that progressed through King David and onward through Jesus and Mary Magdalene and their offshoots. In English, Sangreal was translated as “Saint Grail”. Since the word “Saint” meant “Holy”, Saint Grail was fashionably rendered as “Holy Grail”. The remnants of the Sangreal family, or the Grail Family, are descended from the conjoined line of Jesus and his brother James the Just. In the first century and until medieval times, the Sangreal were known as the Desposyni. In the first century and early second century in particular, the Desposyni included the families of Jesus’s other brothers, namely Jude, Simon, and Joseph.
THE GOSPEL OF LUKE TRACES THE LINEAGE OF JESUS BACK TO ADAM, THROUGH ADAM’S SON SETH. IS THIS ACCURATE? I ASK BECAUSE SOME SOURCES SAY LUKE WAS AT FAULT IN THIS REGARD. Luke was certainly at fault but as a researcher he was using records that were available to him at the time. He couldn’t have known they were faulty in ways because they were found in the Old Testament scriptures. True, Genesis suggests that the Grail Kings (the ruling line of Judah) began with Seth. That is a contrived lie. The lie was manufactured by the Levites, the compilers of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament). The Anunnaki god of the Levites was Enlil, called Jehovah in the Bible. As such, the Levites didn’t want to make it plain that the Jews were in fact descended from Enki, the archrival of Enlil. Sumerian records, which predated the old Testament by at least 2000 years, make it crystal-clear that the Grail Kings are descended from Cain, not Seth. The same Sumerian records are categorical that Cain was not the son of Adam: he was the son of Enki. Enki, the Serpent of Genesis who genetically engineered us into existence and was notorious for his philanderings despite his surpassing genius, produced Cain when he slept with Adam’s wife Eve. When GENESIS 4:1 is properly translated, Eve is saying, “I have produced a son (Cain) by my Lord Enki”. Since Cain was half “god” (as the Anunnaki were referred to) and half human, he was superior to both Abel and Seth, who were full humans. I will develop this theme further in the forthcoming series but suffice it to say for now that Jesus arose through the line not of Seth but of Cain. YOU SAID JESUS WAS MARRIED TO MARY MAGDALENE AND THE COUPLE HAD KIDS. WHO WERE THESE KIDS? Jesus and Mary Magdalene had three kids, two boys and a daughter. Their firstborn was a daughter. They named her Tamar (Damaris in Greek), meaning Palm Tree. Tamar was a prominent name in the Davidic lineage. The original patriarch of the royal House of Judah was called Tamar (GENESIS 37-38 and MATTHEW 1:3). King David’s sister (2 SAMUEL 13:1) was known as Tamar. Furthermore, King David’s scrupulous virgin daughter who was raped by her half-brother Amnon (2 SAMUEL 3) also went by the name Tamar. Tamar the daughter of Jesus was born in September AD 33, when Jesus was 39 years old. As we demonstrated in the concluding articles, Jesus did survive the crucifixion and went on to live to a ripe old age. The second-born was Jesus Jr (the heir). He was born in September AD 37. The third-born (the spare) was named Joseph, after Jesus’s father. Joseph was born in Marseille, France, in September AD 44. Having been born in the wrong month himself for a dynastic heir (March 7 BC), Jesus ensured that all his kids were born in the holy month of September. He also rigidly followed the sexual regimen for a dynastic heir. He waited for the prescribed three years of abstinence after the birth of a daughter and six years of mandatory abstinence after the birth of a son as per dynastic procreational rules.
WHAT DIRECT EVIDENCE IS THERE IN THE BIBLE THAT JESUS HAD KIDS AS YOU STATED IN ONE OF YOUR ARTICLES? Firstly, you ought to familiarise with the pesher technique, in which the gospels and the epistles were largely written, to grasp this point. ACTS 6:7 says, “The Word of God increased”. In pesher, “Word of God” stood for Jesus and to “increase” was to be fruitful, the same thing as having a kid, most notably a son. ACTS 6:7 is therefore a cryptic reference to the birth of Jesus Jr in AD 37. The birth of his younger brother Joseph in AD 44 is cryptically recorded in ACTS 12:24 (“The Word of God grew and multiplied”). ACTS 3:20-21 also talks about Jesus entering “Heaven” till the “times of restitution”. We know that after his make-believe crucifixion, Jesus was reinstated to the Essene top brass, whose pesher name was “Heaven”. He was to be in ecclesiastical ministry for three years, during which he would stay celibate. This was because he had had a daughter in September AD 33 and as a dynastic heir, he had to abstain from sexual relations with Mary for three years. At the expiry of these three years, he was to resume sexual relations with his wife with a view to produce a heir. The dynastic prince’s resumption of sexual intimacy with his wife was in pesher language known as “restitution”. When Jesus Jr was born in AD 37, he became Jesus’s heir, that is, the Crown Prince. Before the birth of Jesus Jr, the Crown Prince was James, the immediate younger brother to Jesus. The title of the Davidic Crown Prince was “The Just”, “Justus”, or “The Righteous”, what in our day we would also refer to as “Right Honourable” or “His Honour”. This explains why in much of extra-biblical literature, James is addressed as James the Just or James the Righteous. At his birth, Jesus Jr replaced James as the Crown Prince and so became known as Jesus Justus. In COLOSSIANS 4:11, Paul says, “Jesus, who is also called Justus, sends his greetings”. It is clear here that Paul is notifying the people of Colossae that at the time he wrote this letter (whilst in Rome), he was with the son of Jesus!
YOU DIDN’T SAY MUCH ABOUT THE FAMILY OF JESUS. WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM? I’ll begin with the heir Jesus Jr, also known as Jesus II and Jesus Justus (in France, he was called Gais or Gesu, which is Jesu in Setswana and Yesu in some other Bantu languages). In AD 46 at age 9, Jesus Jr began schooling in Caesarea and not at Qumran as had been the case with his father. When he attained 12 years of age, he underwent the coming-of-age Bar-Mitzvah ceremony in Provence, France. Shortly thereafter, his uncle James the Just took him on a tour of England as the Anunnaki had earmarked the country as the future geopolitical capital of the world. In AD 53, upon his attainment of the majority age of 16, Jesus Jr officially took over from his uncle James as Crown Prince to the Davidic title, which was still held by Jesus, who was still alive at the time. It was then that Jesus Jr formally became known as Jesus Justus, meaning Crown Prince Jesus, although he had all long been loosely called by that name. Early in AD 73, Jesus Jr married a granddaughter of Theudas Barabbas (also known as Nicodemus in the Bible). He sired only one child, a son called Galains in French but who also went by the name Jesus III (he never got to see his son though as he was crucified by Roman general and procurator of Judea Flavius Silva during the siege of Masada in AD 74). But Galains opted for a monastic life: he never married and therefore died without issue. Consequently, the Davidic succession passed from Jesus Jr to his younger brother Joseph. Joseph was educated at a druidic college in England and settled in France. He too sired only one child, called Josue. Following the death of Galains, Josue became the David. Tamar, the firstborn-daughter of Jesus, married the apostle Paul in September AD 53. After her marriage, she changed her name to the Greek Phoebe. Besides being Paul’s wife, she served as a deaconess in the ministry of her husband.
ACCORDING TO DAN BROWN’S DA VINCI CODE, MARY MAGDALENE SETTLED IN FRANCE. IS THAT TRUE? AND IF SO, WHY DID SHE LEAVE PALESTINE? Dan Brown did quite splendid research when he wrote The Da Vinci Code. Mary Magdalene did indeed settle in Marseille, France, in AD 44. Two seismic events happened that year in Judea. First, the apostle James (the “Son of Zebedee”) was executed by King Herod Agrippa I. Now, James and his brother John were adopted sons of Simon Zelotes, who was also known as Zebedee. Understandably therefore, Simon Zelotes, a Zealot, struck back almost immediately: he had Agrippa I assassinated through food poisoning. Agrippa’s brother King Herod of Chalcis (in modern-day Syria) reacted by launching a manhunt for Simon Zelotes and the Zealot top-brass. You will be aware by now that Simon Zelotes was the foster father of Mary Magdalene. Wary that she might be associated with the assassination, Mary Magdalene appealed for protection from Herod Agrippa II, who was only 17 years old at the time and who as a former student of the apostle Paul was sympathetic to Jesus and his family. Agrippa II duly arranged her passage to Vienne, north of Marseille, in France. Also on the voyage were Simon Zelotes; her mother Helena-Salome; and Jesus’s sisters Mary and Sarah. On arrival in France, they were first hosted by Herod Archelaus at the Herodian Estate. Archelaus had been exiled to France since AD 6, when he was deposed as ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea by Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus.
AFTER THE “RESURRECTION”, DID JESUS LIVE WITH HIS FAMILY? He almost never did. As the Davidic King, he was only supposed to live with his family when he had to sire a child. This period was known as the Days of Restitution. The moment his wife became pregnant, he left to immerse himself in evangelistic pursuits according to Essene dynastic rules. He would return to see the newly born kid but he would promptly set off and be away from his wife for between three to six years. At some stage though, Jesus did take a second wife. Her name was Lydia (ACTS 16:14-15 & 40). Lydia is described as a “seller of purple” (a coded term for her royal status having been married to Jesus) and one “whose heart the Lord opened” (pesher term for hitching somebody into marriage). Jesus’ marriage to Lydia in AD 50 did not sit well with the Qumran sages. The Damascus Document (one of the Dead Sea Scrolls) hints at this when it makes mention of an eminent personality who was “caught in fornication” by “taking a second wife while a second is alive”. The Essenes did allow polygamy but not for a dynastic heir. But the same Damascus Document passage advances mitigating arguments that King David was polygamous too. As to the early church, the matter was a hot potato as it was regarded as a virtual divorce from Mary Magdalene (some members of the early church were aware that Jesus was around) considering that as Priest-King, Jesus was not permitted to take a second wife. Paul was therefore at pains to dwell at length on the subject of divorce and why it was immoral (1 CORINTHIANS 7:10-16). Paul made it a point to underline that in addressing this subject, he was not speaking for himself but “for the Lord”, that is, Jesus, who did not embrace the idea of divorce.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MARY MAGDALENE AND JESUS POST-THE CRUCIFIXION? Your question is not very clear but I take it you are referring to how and when they died. Mary Magdalene died in Aix-en-Provence, France, in AD 63. She was buried at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, about 40 km east of Aix-en-Provence. Jesus travelled extensively, venturing as far as India and Pakistan but generally incognito. In Rome in particular, very few were aware that he was still in circulation. When the Zealots rose up against the Romans in AD 66, Jesus was called upon to come and assume command as the Davidic Messiah. At first he was reluctant as he did not believe in a forceful overthrow of the Romans, but in AD 73 he was persuaded by Eleazar ben Yair, the commander of the Sicarii, an elite wing of the Zealots who were holding out at the mountain-top Fortress of Masada. Jesus arrived there before the Romans surrounded it, not to fight but to spiritually uplift his people. On hearing that his father was at Masada, Jesus Jr decided to follow after him (most likely to substitute for his father, who was 80 years of age at the time). By then, however, the Romans had already surrounded Masada and Jesus Jr was captured and crucified on the plain below in full view of Jesus and the Sicarii. Flavius Josephus records that the Sicarii, who numbered 967 including non-combatants, committed suicide, with only 7 found alive. But it seems Jesus slipped through the dragnet alive as a scroll (now lost) that he wrote whilst at Masada was discovered there during excavations in the 1960’s and part of what happened at Masada is cryptically recorded in REVELATION chapters 15 and 16. The fact that his burial site is at Shrinagar in Kashmir also attests to his having survived the Masada siege, which lasted from late 73 to early 74 AD. That Jesus is buried in Kashmir is not surprising at all: he had a strong attachment to India because Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, came from there.
I WISH TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE FAMILY AND FATE OF JESUS AND MARY MAGDALENE. WHICH BOOKS MUST I READ? I recommend two books by Barbara Theiring titled Jesus the Man and Jesus of the Apocalypse. The others are Bloodline of the Holy Grail and The Magdalene Legacy, both by Lawrence Gardner; The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent; and The Jesus Scroll by Donovan Joyce. Lastly, I recommend the biblical book of REVELATION. Very few people are aware that it is actually a coded account of the life of Jesus and his family! It has very little to do with eschatological (futuristic) events as your pastor will avidly preach.
At an economically tumultuous juncture of our country’s history as we presently are, where unemployment has become something of a Gordian Knot conundrum, a promisingly ameliorational pursuit known as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is well worth exploring as a salvavic option.
One pundit defines BPO as “a subset of outsourcing that involves contracting the operations and responsibilities for a particular business process to a third-party service provider.” Examples of BPO services, which invariably do not constitute a company’s core or primary mission, include inbound and outbound call centres, live chat, bookkeeping, web development, research marketing, accounting and finance, and after-hours call answering services. BPO is driven, fundamentally, by the imperative of cost-cutting and overrides national boundaries through the employment and deployment of technologies that make human and data communications easier, thus lending credence to the concept of the global village that is today’s world.
BPO had been in existence in its primordial form since as early as the 19th century but it was not until the 1980s that its latter-day incarnation loomed larger and the term outsourcing became part of daily business parlance. Today, every continent is into BPO, including the economic Dark Horse called Africa. The Global IT-BPO Outsourcing Deals Analysis segments BPO buyer regions into three categories. These are North and South America (42 percent); Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (35 percent); and Asia and Oceania 23 percent.
In a Third World country such as Botswana, overseas-oriented BPO is key to bringing in those paramount hard currencies besides engendering a radical turnaround in the all too dingy joblessness picture. But are we up to it folks? Have we gotten aboard the bandwagon or we are virtual spectators watching nonchalantly as the BPO locomotive streaks away at breakneck speed?
JAX’S FLASH-IN-THE-PAN SUCCESS
The extent to which BPO has taken root in Botswana is not apparent. The first time I heard of it was in August 2007, when the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA), then going by the name Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), put it on record at a one-day IFSC-organised conference that they were in the process of developing standards for the nascent BPO industry in Botswana whilst they benchmarked with Mauritius, the UK, and South Africa. Little, if anything at all, has been heard of their progress since.
In February 2018, The Botswana Guardian reported of the newly-established Direct BPO, a fully-owned subsidiary of Mascom, which was looking to employing 400 people at the very outset. Once again, details as to how Direct BPO, whose establishment coincided with Mascom’s 20-year anniversary, has fared to date remain sketchy.
Perhaps the most spectacular case of a BPO operation in Botswana was that of Oseg, a company begun by Majakathata Pheko, affectionately known as Jax, in 2003 under the Debtsolve franchise umbrella. Oseg, which comprised of three divisions, offered customer management and financial services solutions and operated out of Gaborone and Windhoek in Namibia, where it touted MTN as its principal client. Oseg did receivable management for local financial blue chips such as Barclays Bank, FNB, Bayport, MVA, Botswana Insurance Company, Letshego, and Standard Chartered, and in due course CEDA and Mascom. It also served the Australian offshore market. Its account receivable division was the biggest in Botswana, handling over 60,000 accounts and managing a portfolio of over P400 million.
At its height, Oseg employed 150 people and had spent over P15 million on cutting edge technology and manpower training. In 2007, Oseg was nominated for Best Non-European Contact Centre at the CCF Awards held that year in Birmingham, UK, the “Oscars of the industry”.
Then in 2016, the sky seemed to have fallen. Oseg found itself saddled with an odious P4.4 million debt, with its staff resultantly trimmed to just under 50. According to media reports, Jax pointed to his own bankrollers and their partners in the alleged crime as his rather devious saboteurs. “I have evidence that powerful people in the bank and a cabal of friends both inside and outside the bank were intentionally and aggressively looking for ways to weaken Oseg, tarnish its name and diminish its value as they were in the same competing business interests, in the call centre and the factoring business,” the then youthful entrepreneur, who was only 41 at the time, bemoaned.
Jax reported the matter to NBFIRA and what came of that, not to mention the continued viability of his business, I have not been able to establish. I just hope and trust that Jax personally weathered the tempest as I have it on good authority that he is doing fairly well.
BOTSWANA MISSING OUT ON DOLLAR-DENOMINATED BILLIONS
For emerging economies, and even peripheral Third World countries, the BPO business can be something of a gold mine. According to the latest McKinsey report, the global BPO industry is valued at $163 billon and is expected to grow at $183 billion by the year 2023.
In the Philippines, BPO, which began with a call centre setup way back in 1992, accounts for 11 percent of GDP, the single biggest contributor to the nation’s economic activity. It employs 1.3 million people in over 700 outsourcing companies. One company, called Teleperformance, alone employs 47,000 people in 21 sites. In 2019, the BPO sector generated revenues of the order of $26.3 billion.
In India, the BPO sector, now 30 years old, provides direct employment to 2 million people and indirect employment to 8 million. In 2019, the BPO income overall amounted to $8.6 billon. In Mauritius, the ICT/BPO sector contributed 6 percent to GDP in 2019, representing a key driver of the Mauritian economy. The BPO sector is responsible for 53 percent of the 27,000 people employed in the ICT/BPO superstructure in 850 companies.
According to the Economic Development Board of Mauritius, leading multinationals such as Accenture, Huawei, Aspen Pharmacare and Allianz have back office operations in Mauritius. In addition, a number of international payroll companies currently use Mauritius as a service delivery centre.
Kenya is also looking to position itself as a hub for global digital BPO, notably through government promotion schemes such as Ajira. According to the ITC Authority of Kenya, the market size for online work was estimated to be $4.8 billion in 2016 and was projected to generate $15 billon by 2020. With only 7000 people employed in the BPO industry in the country, we are talking about a modest figure though it is still brisk compared to the rather lugubrious situation in Botswana. Clearly, there are billions in US dollar terms to be had in BPO and we are missing out on these big time.
MZANZI LEAVES BW IN THE DUST
Yet it is Big Brother next door from whom we have precious much to glean as he is our immediate competitor potentially in the BPO race. Remember, if our IFSC continues to flounder to date, it is largely on account of the fact that in Mzansi, we have a formidable rival right on our doorstep.
As we speak, the South African BPO sector is valued at $461 million going by the invariably authoritative McKinsey survey. It employs 270,000 people in six cities, a figure projected to more than double to 775,000 by 2030. Of the current total staff base, 65,000 serve international clients. That South Africa has made such enormous strides in the BPO arena is meritoriously earned and not simply fortuitous. It has been voted the second most attractive BPO location in the world for three years on the trot.
The South African BPO sector is tipped to grow by 3 percent per annum over the next three years, a rate which is in line with the trends in the global BPO space. There are currently over 100 local and international BPO providers operating in South Africa, with local players in the main serving large multinational customers. The industry’s key offshore business clientele is domiciled in English-speaking countries, notably the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, with 61 percent coming from the United Kingdom, 18 percent from the United States and Canada, and 11 percent from Australia.
In June this year, the $1.5 trillion-strong Amazon announced that it would be signing up a total of 3000 South Africans to help cater to its customers in North America and Europe, which is testament to the fact that the country’s BPO market continues to make waves in the Western world. If Jeff Bizos is impressed, you can count on the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg to follow suit too sooner rather than later.
A FORGONE OPPORTUNITY TO TURBO-CHARGE THE BPO INDUSTRY IN BOTSWANA
Empowerment Africa is an organisation that boasts a business network that enables established and emerging businesses to connect, partner, and create long-term value with Africa-based projects. With reportedly 3000 esteemed contacts, it liaises with governments, major corporations, and investors to facilitate business opportunities, deliver deal flow, and provide research across its network to the Empower Africa business community.
Empowerment Africa recommends seven countries in Africa with thriving outsourcing industries. They are Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, and Madagascar in that order. Botswana is conspicuous by its absence and that must be ample cause for concern to our Monetary Authorities, especially given that at least on paper, we are economically better off than three to four of these countries.
In 2015, Jax approached the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture and propositioned a joint partnership with Oseg in unlocking BPO potential in Botswana by looking at the public sector Debt Collection and Call Centre services for government. Jax reckoned that the total market for Receivables and Revenue collections sitting in Government and Parastatal organisations at the time amounted to over P3.5 billion, equivalent to 8% of the National Budget then. If the BPO sector was to be utilised to assist in collecting this debt, over 2700 jobs would be created.
Furthermore, considering that a typical government employee spent half the time attending to inquiries from members of the public, the exercise would result in improved efficiency delivery in government departments in addition to boosting government’s liquidity position.
This is what Jax said in a 50th independence anniversary publication in 2016 on the same subject. “Our estimations are that once all the collections work is outsourced, there is a potential to collect more than P100 million every month for the Government of Botswana.
The opportunity to create more than 2700 exists, which will help to mop out unemployed graduates and upskill them. The economic impact of 2700 jobs would support more than 15,000 people in the economy and also help to create jobs in other industries that support the BPO sector, and will stimulate the whole ICT sector. Over and above that, the outsourcing would stimulate the whole IT sector and help improve Botswana’s position as an ICT and Call Centre hub.”
Once again, I am not privy to what came of this proposition, but I am persuaded that had government acceded to it, the BPO business in the country would have quantum-leaped and we would today be waltzing on the proverbial Cloud 9 in terms of revenues generated. Even the road retarder Oseg encountered with its bankers would not have been a factor at all. As significant, we would in all probability have made it on Empowerment Africa’s short list for the continent’s pre-eminent BPO addresses.
THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF GOVERNMENT IN BOOSTING BPO FORTUNES
Granted, with the advent of the still latent E-Governance, the synergic potential with the Call Centre business is stupendous. As per Jax’s pitch to those who care to hear, “The outsourcing of the E-Governance and collections will greatly improve efficiency in service delivery in the government departments. Directing traffic and enquiries to a Call Centre would empower the BPO sector in such a way that would be able to help the public from all over the country from one central point 24 hours and 7 days week.
The Call Centres would also relieve Government of the pressure to develop brick and mortar representations/offices across the country. This would help to save billions of Pula as the public will be able to access the services from the comfort of their homes and villages. The Call Centre service would bridge the urban and rural division as everyone will now be able to access Government services and receive the same service.”
The real jackpot both to government and the broader citizenry, however, resides in the offshore market. With sales cycles in the BPO business taking up to 12 months, contracts typically run from five to seven years, which is sustained lucrativeness by any measure. It is in the direction of the overseas market that much of our energy should be focused, though wary that we do not recklessly neglect the domestic market, if we are to reinvigorate the BPO industry and get meaningful returns out of it.
Developed countries are all the more keen to outsource as one way to insulate their economies against severe hurt inflicted by globalwide economic tremors. For instance, it was thanks to offshore outsourcing that Australia so ably navigated the 2008 economic crisis. That year, IBM released a BPO report showing that 80% of Australian companies were willing to outsource from offshore companies to save 50% in expenses.
Here in Botswana, I would recommend that government be in the BPO vanguard by splashing on a whole host of catalytic factors. In South Africa, for instance, the Department of Industry, Trade and Competition devoted R1.3 billion between 2007 and 2018 to bolstering the BPO industry in one way or the other and committed a further R1.2 billion in 2019 alone, gestures which no doubt underlie the solid performance of the industry.
Even when the lockdowns were in progress, the industry was accorded essential services status so that it kept the momentum going. As if not to be outdone, the South African BPO industry body, Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA), has commendably done its part in aiding the growth of the industry by supporting skills development, sharing best practice, and providing its members with access to other business networks and associations that drive and influence the sector’s transition into the digital economy. In Mauritius, the Prime Minister himself, and not a man of lesser stature, directly oversees the BPO sector.
For Botswana to make a mark in the BPO arena, it has to build a reputation as a reliable, cost-effective, and high-quality destination for outsourced business services, attributes all of which South Africa excels in. In addition, South African BPO players provide higher-quality services owing to strength across five key areas: availability of skills, infrastructure, risk profile, business environment, and industry size. In Botswana, we will need to nurture some of these strengths with the instrumentality of government.
With the advent of COVID-19, it is of essence that traditional BPO providers build capabilities to enable rapid deployment and ramp-up of fully functional teams under crisis scenarios. Operational resilience, that is, the ability to pivot when an ordinarily disruptive set of circumstances hits, is key. South Africa demonstrated this capacity most eloquently when 90 percent of the workforce was able to switch to remote work in residential settings, when 50 percent of operations in key competing locations such as the Philippines and India came to a virtual standstill.
Lastly but by no means the least, a competitive currency is a reasonably efficacious undercutting strategy. In recent months, the South African Rand has significantly weakened against the US dollar, in which the cost of outsourcing is typically denominated, and this has enabled South African BPOs to compete more effectively with Asian offerings.
It concerns me that last year, the Pula appreciated by 1.6 percent against the SDR (Special Drawing Right), which is a compound of five currencies, namely the US dollar, the British Pound, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, and the Chinese Yuan. If that relatively ripped Pula trajectory persists, it will not help our BPO competitiveness at all Rre Moses Pelaelo.
Mighty Persian King ends Babylonian exile after 60 years
For all his euphoria and grandiose preparations for Nibiru King Anu’s prospective visit to Earth, General Atiku, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t live to savour this potentially highly momentous occasion. In fact, none of his next three bloodline successors were destined to witness up-close the return of the Planet of the Gods, as Nibiru was referred to in Sumerian and Egyptian chronicles.
Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 BC, having ruled for 43 years, missing Nibiru, which showed up circa 550 BC as we set down in The Earth Chronicles series, by a whisker. During the next 6 years, he had three successors in such an unconscionably short period of time. His immediate one was Merodach, his eldest son.
In Botswana, the Trade Disputes Act, 2016 (“the Act”) provides the framework within which trade disputes are resolved. This framework hinges on four legs, namely mediation, arbitration, industrial action and litigation. In this four-part series, we discuss this framework.
In last week’s article, we discussed the third leg of Botswana’s trade dispute resolution framework-industrial action. In this article, we discuss the fourth leg, namely litigation at the Industrial Court. The Act does not define the term litigation. Litigation is generally understood to mean a situation where parties to a trade dispute take their dispute to a court, in this case the Industrial Court, for determination by a judge.
Just like an arbitrator, a judge’s decision is binding on the parties though they can, of course, appeal it. However, while an arbitrator must be acceptable to both parties, a judge does not have to be acceptable to the parties. A party can, however, apply for the judges’ recusal from the case for such reasons as reasonable apprehension of bias.
Before discussing litigation at the Industrial Court, it is apposite that a brief background of the origins and evolution of the Industrial Court be given. The original Trade Disputes Act (No. 19/1982) provided for disputes to be adjudicated, inter alia, by a Permanent Arbitrator. This is confirmed in Veronica Moroka & 2 Others v The Attorney General and Another, Court of Appeal Civil Appeal No. CACGB-121-17 at para 11.
The Industrial Court replaced the institution of the Permanent Arbitrator (Dingake Collective Labour Law in Botswana 23) following the enactment of the Trade Disputes Act (No. 23/1997) which, as confirmed in the Veronica Moroka case supra, came into force on 9 October 1997.
As per Kirby JP, in the Veronica Moroka case supra, the Industrial Court’s status “as a court was uncertain and no provision was made for it to be served by a Registrar, with the usual powers and duties of such office”.
The Court of Appeal, in Botswana Railways Organization v Setsogo and Others, 1996 BLR 763 CA, remedied this defect. It held that the Industrial Court was not a mere statutory tribunal, but was, in line with Section 127(1) of the Constitution of Botswana, a subordinate court, having limited jurisdiction.
Following the change of the definition of subordinate court by Act 2/2002 to exclude the Industrial Court, along with the Court of Appeal, the High Court and a court martial, the Industrial Court became a superior court, albeit still with limited jurisdiction unlike the High Court, for instance, which has inherent unlimited jurisdiction.
Consequently, appeals from the Industrial Court were referred to the Court of Appeal. Perhaps most significantly, according to Veronica Moroka, Industrial Court judges were now, just like High Court judges, protected by, inter alia, security of tenure.
The Trade Disputes Act was further amended and replaced by the Trade Disputes Act, 2003 which commenced on 6 April 2004 as Act No. 15 of 2004. Section 16(8) of this Act provided for the appointment of the Registrar and an Assistant Registrar, but still had no section clothing them with specific powers.
It, through section 20(3), also bestowed, in the Court, the power to hear urgent applications and, in terms of section 18(1), the power to grant interdicts, thereby remedying the defects identified in Botswana Railways Organization v Setsogo & Others supra, but it still had no provision dealing with writs of execution and sales flowing therefrom.
In terms of section 18(1) of the Act, the Industrial Court’s jurisdiction includes the power to hear and determine all trade disputes except disputes of interest as well as, in terms of section 20(1) (b) of the Act, the power to interdict any unlawful industrial action and to grant general interdicts, declaratory orders or interim orders.
In terms of section 20(1) (c) of the Act, the Industrial Court is also clothed with the power to hear appeals and reviews of the decisions of mediators and arbitrators respectively. It, in terms of section 20(1) (d) of the Act, has the power to direct the Commissioner to assign a mediator to mediate a dispute if it is of the opinion that the matter has not been properly mediated or requires further mediation.
In terms of section 20(1) (e) of the Act, the Industrial Court also has the power to direct the Commissioner to refer a dispute that is before the Court for arbitration. In terms of section 20(1) (f) of the Act, it has the power to refer any matter to an expert and, at the Court’s discretion, to accept the expert’s report as evidence in the proceedings.
The Industrial Court also has the power to give such directions to parties to a trade dispute provided the object of such directions is the expedient and just hearing and determination or disposal of any dispute before it.
In terms of section 20(2) of the Act, any matter of law and any question as to whether a matter for determination is a matter of law or a matter of fact is decided by the presiding judge. In terms of section 20(3) of the Act, with respect to all issues other than those referred to under section 20 (2), the decision of the majority of the Court prevails.
Where there is no majority decision under section 20 (3), the decision of the judge prevails. In terms of section 24(2) of the Act, any interested party in any proceedings under the Act may appear by legal representation or may be represented by any other person so authorised by that party.
In terms of section 28(2) of the Act, a decision of the Industrial Court has the same force and effect as a decision of the High Court, and because, unlike South Africa, Botswana has no Labour Appeal Court, decisions of the Industrial Court, just like those of the High Court, are, in terms of section 20(5) of the Act, appealable to the highest court in the land, that is, the Court of Appeal.
The Trade Disputes Act went through another amendment in 2016. Section 14 of the Act ensures the continuation of the Industrial Court. It outlines its functions as the settlement of trade disputes as well as the securing and maintenance of good industrial relations in Botswana.
In terms of section 15(1) of the Act, the judges of the Industrial Court are appointed by the state President from among persons possessing the qualifications to be judges of the High Court as prescribed under section 96 of the Constitution.
In terms of section 15(2) of the Act, these judges are headed by the President of the Industrial Court designated by the state President from among the judges.
In terms of section 15(4) of the Act, a judge of the Industrial Court who is not a citizen of Botswana or who is not appointed on permanent and pensionable terms may be appointed on contract basis and is eligible for reappointment.
In terms of section 15(5) of the Act, Judges of the Industrial Court sit with two nominated members, one of whom is selected by the judge from among persons nominated by the organisation representing employees or trade unions in Botswana and the other selected by the judge from among persons nominated by the organisation representing employers in Botswana.
In terms of section 15(6) of the Act, where, for any reason, the nominated members are or either of them is absent for any part of the hearing of a trade dispute, the jurisdiction of the court may be exercised by the judge alone or with the remaining member of the Court, whichever the case may be, unless the judge, for good reason, decides that the hearing should be postponed.
In terms of section 18(1) of the Act, An Industrial Court judge vacates office on attaining the age of 70 years, provided that the state President may permit him or her to continue in office for such period as may be necessary to enable him or her to deliver judgment or to do any other thing in relation to proceedings that had commenced before him or her.
In terms of section 18(2) of the Act, in accordance with the provisions of the proviso to section 96(6) of the Constitution, a person appointed to act as an Industrial Court judge vacates that office on attaining the age of 75 years.
In terms of section 19(1) (a) and (b) of the Act, an Industrial Court judge may be removed from office only for inability to perform the functions of his or her office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, or from any other cause or for serious misconduct.
In terms of section 19(2) of the Act, the power to remove an Industrial Court judge from office vests in the state President acting in accordance with the procedure provided under section 97 of the Constitution for the removal of High Court judges.
*Ndulamo Anthony Morima, LLM(NWU); LLB(UNISA); DSE(UB); CoP (BAC); CoP (IISA) is the proprietor of Morima Attorneys. He can be contacted at 71410352 or email@example.com