We have established that the Anunnaki, the gods of the Old Testament led here on Earth by Enlil, best known to Christians as Jehovah or Yahweh, and his step brother Enki, are the creators of mankind. The Anunnaki, flesh-and-blood creatures like we are and not supernatural beings as English translations of the Bible seem to suggest, came from their planet, Nibiru, the furthest in the Solar System and therefore the least familiar, 445,000 years ago. They created mankind 144,000 years after their arrival, or 300,000 years ago.
When they created the first man, Adam, the Anunnaki did not do so from organic or inorganic raw materials such as soil as the poorly translated Genesis would have you believe; they upgraded an already existing terrestrial species we today refer to as Homo Erectus, or Ape-Man, by a process we call cloning, whereby they blended their own genes with those of Ape-Woman. For that to happen, the DNA of the Anunnaki had to be more or less identical with the DNA of Ape-Woman; otherwise, it would have been impossible for the cloning to come to fruition and produce Adam. So was the DNA of Homo Erectus, mankind’s hominid ancestor, the same as that carried by the Anunnaki?
First, let us gain familiarity with DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic Acid in full. DNA is a molecule which contains the biological instructions that make each species unique, the only one of its kind. It is DNA which makes a dog a dog, a fish a fish, man a man, etc. DNA is passed from adult organisms to their offspring during reproduction.
Every single cell of a living organism carries DNA. DNA is predominantly found in the part of the cell known as the nucleus. The nucleus is what you would roughly call the brain of a cell. DNA serves as a guidebook so the cells "know" what they're supposed to do. DNA molecules come in concentrated packages known as chromosomes.
DNA has a unique, double-helix shape which comprises of strands that run in opposite directions as they wind like a twisted ladder.
The genetic code (a set of biological instructions) in each human cell is known as the human genome. It is made up of 23 thread-like pairs of chromosomes, or 46 in total. Twenty-two of these pairs look the same in both males and females. The 23rd pair, the sex chromosomes, differ between males and females. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. In other words, females do not carry a Y chromosome.
Interestingly, no more than 1.5 percent of the human genome contains DNA which is useful, that is, “codes for proteins” and therefore builds us. The other 98.5 percent is said to be junk DNA which serves a zero purpose in the cell. Why that is so we will venture to explain in due course.
Besides the DNA located in the nucleus, also called nuclear DNA, humans and other complex organisms also have a small amount of DNA in cell structures known as mitochondria. Mitochondria generate the energy the cell needs to function properly. In sexual reproduction, organisms inherit half of their nuclear DNA from the male parent and half from the female parent. However, organisms inherit all of their mitochondrial DNA from the female parent. This occurs because only egg cells have the capacity to on-pass mitochondria DNA whereas sperm cells are unable to pass it on although they do carry it too.
A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes, which are made up of DNA, act as instructions to make molecules called proteins. Humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. Every person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent. Most genes are the same in all people, but a small number of genes (less than 1 percent of the total) are slightly different between people. These small differences contribute to each person’s unique physical features
We have about 10 trillion cells in our bodies. If we stretched the DNA in all the cells out, end to end, they would stretch over 744 million miles. The moon is only about 250,000 miles away, so all our DNA would stretch to the moon and back almost 1500 times. The sun is 93,000,000 miles away, so our DNA would reach there and back about 4 times. That’s how complex you and I are folks.
MAN ON PAR WITH ROUNDWORM!
Until 1953, mankind had no idea what DNA was. It was in that year that a four-man team of molecular biologists spearheaded by Francis Crick and James Watson identified this all-important chemical which is defined as “a nucleic acid (that is, acid found in the nucleus of every living cell) containing the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms”. But it was 50 years later, in 2003, that the complete genetic structure of man’s DNA was unravelled, a process described as the sequencing of the complete human genome. The findings were astonishing.
At the time, scientists had already mapped the genome of other, less sophisticated species and had established their total gene count. Examples, with the approximate number of genes alongside, are as follows: Fruit Fly, 13,600; Roundworm, 20,000; Zebrafish, 50,000; Chicken, 76,000; Mouse, 81,000.
It was believed that man, being the most complex species, must be having between 100,000 to 140,000 genes. However, it turned out man had less than 30,000 genes, actually between 20,000 and 25,000! In terms of genetic composition, therefore, he was inferior to a chicken, a mouse, and a zebrafish and was almost on par with a roundworm!
The most significant finding came in 2005, when the ape genome was also mapped and when it transpired that the chimpanzee, our closest cousin, had only 2 percent fewer genes than us! Mankind also shared 70 percent of his genes with the mouse. And not only that: most of the genes found in humans were also found in many other members of the animal kingdom as well as in plants, fungi, and yeast. In other words, man wasn’t as unique as he imagined himself to be.
The upshot of this genetic dissection was a confirmation of what the Sumerians, the world’s best known civilisation of old, had documented 6,000 years ago on their cuneiform clay tablets – that all life on Earth, from birds to fishes, plants to algae, and down to bacteria and viruses, had the same source. So if the DNA of the Anunnaki was compatible with that of Ape-Man as the cloning of Adam and Eve demonstrated, it followed that the DNA of the Anunnaki and that of mankind had a common source. What was this source? And how did this source impart the seed of DNA to Earth? Remember, the Anunnaki came to Earth only 445,000 years ago, and when they did they found all sorts of life forms already in existence. Therefore, the same DNA the Anunnaki shared with Earth’s life forms was seeded on Earth eons before the Anunnaki set foot on our planet. Who seeded this DNA on Earth?
IMPARTED IN THE CELESTIAL BATTLE
“The answer,” writes the departed Earth Chronicles legend Zechariah Sitchin, “was given in the very tale of the Celestial Battle, when (in the second round) Nibiru ‘trod upon’ – came into actual contact with – Tiamat, severing her ‘veins’ and thrusting away her ‘skull’ – the future Earth. It was then that the ‘SEED OF LIFE’ – the DNA of Life on Nibiru – was transferred to Planet Earth.”
Tiamat was the primordial, watery planet that lay between Jupiter and Mars. It was destroyed 4 billion years ago by Nibiru, an intruder planet that had strayed into the youthful Solar System giving rise to our Earth and the Asteroid Belt. One of Tiamat’s eleven satellites, Kingu, was shunted along with Earth to become our Moon. Nibiru was from that point on permanently “seized” as a new member of the Solar System, becoming the 10th planet and the 12th major celestial body from the point of view of Earth. The Celestial Battle was related 6,000 years ago in a Sumerian document called the Enuma Elish (we dwelt on the Celestial Battle in detail in earlier pieces).
Scientists calculate that although Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago, life on the planet arose only 3.8 to 4 billion years ago. They also acknowledge that a cosmic cataclysm that affected the Moon and the Earth did happen 3.9 billion years ago, a virtual confirmation of the Celestial Battle.
As regards the origins of life, scientists are of the belief, to quote The New York Times, that “Earth and other planets have been seeded from space with these potential building blocks of life”, the building blocks of life being DNA. The same New York Times in 2009 said, “some scientists as eminent as Francis Crick, chief theorist of molecular biology, have quietly suggested that life may have formed elsewhere before seeding the planet”.
Well, the idea of life originating from elsewhere was no mystery to the Sumerians: they knew and wrote at length on a wealth of clay tablets that life on Earth originated on Nibiru. Life on Earth and life on Nibiru – DNA on Earth and DNA on Nibiru – is the same because the Seed of Life was imparted by Nibiru to Earth during the Celestial Battle of 4 billion years ago, long before the Anunnaki evolved on their planet. Because Nibiru is significantly older than Earth, life there evolved much earlier, which explains why the Anunnaki, when they came to Earth 445,000 years ago, were so technologically advanced they were capable of space flight and so biomedically advanced they were able to fashion Adam and Eve from Ape-Woman’s and their own genes using genetic engineering.
NIBIRU THE “FECUND SEED”
Throughout his nearly 450,000 years’ stay on Earth, Enki kept reminding both mankind and his fellow Anunnaki that I’m the leader of the Anunnaki, engendered by fecund seed, the firstborn son of divine Anu. Indeed, we know Enki was the oldest of the Anunnaki pantheon, the royals collectively referred to as the Nephilim, but he was leader of the Earth-based Anunnaki only in the sense that he was the planet’s elder statesman: it was his younger step-brother, Enlil, the Jehovah/Yahweh of the Bible, who was the Anunnaki’s de jure leader.
But what did Enki mean when he said he was “engendered by fecund seed?” What was this fecund seed? Obviously, it could not have been Anu or his biological parent, the Sirian-Orion Queen, because no one boasts about the fact that they were born of a “fertile father or mother”, which is a superfluous statement.
The Oxford dictionary defines the word fecund, in one sense, as “capable of producing an abundance of offspring or new growth”. In other words, to be fecund is to have the proven ability to produce abundant life. Since we now know that Nibiru was the propagator of the seed of life here on Earth 4 billion years ago, it follows that Enki was referring to Nibiru when he said he was engendered, or brought about, by fecund seed. Put differently, he was boasting that he was not from an ordinary planet: he was from the planet that was the source of life on Earth. It explains why thousands of Old Testament scriptures (especially those attributed to the prophets) refer to Nibiru as “The Lord” – a fact most Christians are not aware of.
The concept of the seed of life, strictly speaking DNA but also a metaphor for Nibiru, was actually a recurring theme in Sumerian lore. Let’s take the “Fifty Divine Names” that were given to Marduk, Enki’s firstborn son, when he became Earth’s Commander-In- Chief in 2023 BC (having taken over from an aged Jehovah-Enlil) and also Babylon’s primary god. The fifty titular names Marduk inherited from Enlil all were characterisations of planet Nibiru, which the Babylonians also called Marduk after their god. I will only cite four examples as follows:
MARU’UKA, Verily the god Creator of All.
NAMTILLAKU, The god who sustains life.
ASARU, Bestower of cultivation, creator of herbs and grains who causes vegetation to sprout.
GISHNUMUNAB, Creator of the Primeval Seed, the seed of all people.
Do you now see why Enki kept boasting that he was engendered by fecund seed? It was because Nibiru was not only the Creator of the Primeval Seed but also furnished the Seed of Earth, beginning with herbs and vegetation and culminating with providing the Seed of All People both on Nibiru and Earth – human DNA.
“GREEN CARPET” PRECEDES ANIMAL LIFE
The Bible too attests to the fact that life on Earth began from a seed of ready-made DNA. According to GENESIS 1: 20-25, life on Earth proceeded in the following stages: primitive sea creatures; fishes; amphibians; birds; reptiles; mammals; and lastly mankind on Day 5 (note that these were not literal days; they were dispensations). These stages perfectly dovetail with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which belies the oft-encountered assertion that Darwin clashes with the Bible.
Now, note what most people miss out despite the fact that it is so crystal-clear: this is what transpires on Day 3, before seaborne life, the first form of animal life, began. Day 3 occurs in GENESIS 1:11-13. On this day, we see seed-bearing plant life mushroom on Earth’s dry land. The Bible thus makes a distinction between the evolution of animal life, which started on Day 5 (GENESIS 1:20-23), and the start of life on Earth, which began earlier on Day 3. In other words, plant life was the first phase of life on Earth and animal life followed thereafter.
Until seven years ago, critics had rubbished this biblical sequence as contradicting modern science. But in its July 2009 edition, the venerable scientific journal, Nature, published a study which posited that “a thick, green carpet of photosynthetic life exploded across the Earth hundreds of millions of years before life with oxygen hungry cells appeared in the waters. It was this thick carpet of green life that washed into the ocean and nourished watery life.” It therefore makes sense, courtesy of the Bible and the Sumerian records, that plant life began before animal life.
Where did the seed of the sprawl of green life that laid siege to Earth come from? In GENESIS 1:11-13, the term “seed” features four times. This is not accidental: it is to ensure that the reader does not miss the point that the Seed of Life – NUMUN in Sumerian, ZERA in Hebrew – was of extraterrestrial origin. This place of origin was clearly Nibiru as NUMUN is a component of GISHNUMUNAB – one of the fifty praise names of Nibiru!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org