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 Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.