Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal (BOFEPUSU) has come up with yet another promises to uplift the working class in Botswana, and ultimately reach its decent work aspirations. BOFEPUSU launched a new Workers Charter which entails all the affirmations on national socio-economic issues, labour employment and future of work as well as issues of second general rights.
In this Workers Charter, the Federation says it believes in the struggle for workers’ rights, democracy and good governance beyond a political space and shall seek to influence the social, political and economic agenda of Botswana.
On its position on working class ideological consciousness and standing, BOFEPUSU rejected the narrow and traditional liberal perspectives that assume trade unions as just any other competing “interest groups” seeking legitimacy mechanisms- laws, institutions- to allow for their mediation and resolution of their interests.
The Federation says it appreciate legal labour frameworks and regimes that promote traditional social dialogue and collective bargaining, but it is of the view that these are limited, meaning that they may enhance workers’ working conditions in specific work environments.
“We are therefore are persuaded and guided by the beliefs in a much broader radical perspective that views the central role of the working class as both a subject and object of historical development and the possibilities of social justice. We see working class labour not as a commodity because workers create wealth and that work is basis of life and expression of that life.”
BOFEPUSU proclaims that the objectives and interests of working class are by their nature political and brings the Federation into the region of politics human liberation and social justice. In discharging their functions, BOFEPUSU says it shall not operate only on social, economic and civic fronts, saying it shall secure the political front too. In tripartite structures, the Federation says it shall seek to influence government policy decisions in the interests of workers.
In Botswana, the legislative framework acknowledges the right to form a union is, but the government places restrictions on who can strike. The Trade Dispute Act was amended in 2016 to include teachers, diamond cutters, and veterinarians among those providing “essential services” who are not legally allowed to strike. Owing to the limitations placed on the right to strike, the government declares strike action as illegal, and employment can be terminated for their participation.
BOFEPUSU (a Federation which subscribes to the core trade union values of freedom of association), acknowledges that these core values are potent instruments that promote decent terms and conditions of work and can achieve harmony between workers and employers in the workplace.
Therefore, the trade union pronounces that there shall be no restrictions on the rights of workers to organize themselves into trade unions in Botswana, and that trade union organization shall be based on the principles of strength and the Federation shall seek to amalgamate unions in sectoral and strong unions in similar occupations.
Furthermore, the Federation says modern trade unionism should be based on the democratization of trade unions to entrench members’ control and shall advance and promote workers’ democracy and control through effective workers participation in defense of their rights.
It affirms that trade unions and their affiliates shall be completely independent and answerable only to the decisions of their members democratically arrived at.
“BOFEPUSU proclaims that it shall strive to ensure that union rivalry and splinters are minimized and a sense of the unity of purpose is cultivated in all its affiliates and the labour movement in Botswana. Further, seek, where possibly, encourage amalgamation of trade unions that have homogeneous membership composition and similar aspirations to strengthen the national structures so as to counter divide-rule of labour in Botswana and beyond.”
Encouraging continuous capacity building among membership and union leadership to enhance their knowledge and skills in negotiations and conflict resolution and management, as well as endeavoring that trade unions provide workers education for members to understand the exercise of their constitutional obligation are some of the promises that BOFEPUSU wants to come up with, as its position on workers control and democracy.
The progressive expansion of labour education and the improvement in its range and quality should be at the center of any of the BOFEPUSU activities, the Federation said. The development of well-trained labour officials, BOFEPUSU clarified, should therefore be regarded as a precondition for enhancement and growth of labour movement in Botswana.
“This is because education and training determines the frontiers of transformation of the labour movement in the country. Education can shape the overall competitiveness of the labour movement within all the spheres of social dialogue. It remains a key enabler to the labour movement’s collective resolve to fight workers’ rights as they advance the agenda for decent work.”
BOFEPUSU indicated that workers education shall revolve around union members in all aspects of their working life including improving their civic life, awareness in the environment around them, enhancement of their knowledge particularly in regard to issues that concern them, their statutory and other rights and responsibilities, workers’ participation scheme, and procedure for redressing their grievances.”
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.