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Botswana’s social security system is chaotic

BFTU

Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) said the country’s current social security system is reactive, indirect and unsystematic. The remark follows President Mokgweetsi Masisi’ State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the opening of the second session of the 12th Parliament.

In his approximately three-hour national televised address, President Masisi underlined that the recently approved national Social Protection Framework (NDPF) will deliver a Single Registry System with the aim of consolidating and harmonizing the existing twenty nine Social Protection programs across government into five life course programs.

The consolidation will forge coherence and synergies between these programs to assist government in building a stronger, more responsive, efficient and resilient social protection system.
BFTU has welcomed this development saying it will help the system that is already fragmented and hidden in various state expenditure.

“It is for this reason that we welcome the harmonization of the system. What we are not happy with is that this harmonization seems to be the sole baby of the government and those affected by social protection are left out. We have in the past and continue to hold the view that “nothing for us without us” principle must be observed if programmes meant to serve people are to properly respond to their needs,” said BFTU Secretary General, Thusang Butale.

President Masisi said in his address that the controversial Ipelegeng programme will be re-engineered with focus on maintenance of public facilities, especially schools and implementation of development projects at local level. He underlined that the revamped Ipelegeng will empower beneficiaries through capacity building and development of technical skills for sustained livelihoods.

“We appreciate the re-engineering of Ipelegeng programme. We believe that if what the President said will be done with the programme it will be more beneficial to Batswana than the current scheme,” Butale indicated. However, the Union criticized what they referred to as lack of consultation on this issue, which they believe should be discussed with social partners as it constitutes active-market policies.

“The President said nothing about when this envisaged re-engineering will take place. It will therefore not be possible to hold the President accountable if it would not be done by the next SONA,” said Butale. The President also touched on an issue of poverty eradication, saying it is one of government’s key policy deliverables.

In this context, Masisi said government has broadened the scope of measurement of poverty to include the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which measures non-income deprivation levels of the poor in the areas of education, health and living standards.

According to Masisi, as at July 2020, the Poverty Eradication programme had funded about 40, 000 projects and 80 percent of them were in operation and employ about 35,000 Batswana. However, BFTU said Masisi omitted to inform the nation about the costs of these projects.

“It is not clear whether these projects are new. It seems also that almost all the projects are single-employee projects. It is therefore impossible to gauge whether these are really successful projects or not. The President ought to have briefed the nation on the poverty situation and what government efforts have been and the level of success or failure and related challenges,” said Butale.

BFTU contends that Masisi said nothing positive on the acute housing problems facing Batswana especially in urban areas which is occasioned mainly by unavailability of land. “The President’s address offers no solution whatsoever to this problem. He alluded to the review of policies, but the timelines of March 2022 are absurd to say the least looking at the urgency of the housing matter,” he said.

“Land allocation has come to a standstill in most land boards. We had expected the President to apprise the nation on the problems the land boards are facing regarding land allocation and what solutions are being put in place to address the situation. It is not clear what the Land Reform Agenda is all about and how it will resolve the current land allocation backlogs.”

Further, BFTU indicated that the timelines are set afar. “In recent past, government embarked on the land Administration Procedures Capacity and Systems project. We expected that there will be a brief on its successes or failures and what government is doing about it. The President only managed a vague paragraph on the matter,” he said.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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