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BQA ordered to continue paying good salaries for its 24 employees despite error

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The transition of Botswana Training Authority to Botswana Qualifications Authority back in 2014 was not a smooth one, especially between staff and the new entity.

This was revealed in a Court of Appeal judgment which ordered BQA to pay 24 members of its staff the promised better remuneration, despite an error committed by the acting CEO at the time and complaints from other experienced and better qualified staff members.

It has emerged that upon the coming into effect of BQA, a restructuring process was undertaken which resulted in the abolition of some posts under the old BTA and the creation of new ones under BQA.

“A job matching exercise was undertaken in terms of which BTA employees were placed in appropriate positions in the new BQA. New terms and conditions of employment were adopted by the Board, which also approved a new salary structure in or about December 2014,” the papers presented before the court read in part.

Further, the Court of Appeal learned that offers of employment under BQA were prepared, and by May 2015 employees had been issued with letters of appointment in line with their new conditions of employment. “This involved what was termed a “salary migration” which resulted in some employees receiving considerably enhanced emoluments”.

The Board then instructed the Acting CEO to implement the new salary structure, which was complex and had prompted queries by some staff members with regard to the emoluments.

The 24 employees sought a 15 percent salary adjustment on the basis of a clause in their new conditions of service, and argued that they had been disadvantaged in the original migration exercise.

“In February 2018 he addressed letters to the 24 affected employees in terms of which their placements were finalized and the salary migration exercise was completed. The effect of the letters was that the new salaries of the 24 employees were enhanced by a 15 percent, backdated to 1st April 2016. Each employee was required to sign an acknowledgment that he or she accepted the placement and the revised salaries. All of them did so,” the court learned.  

The CEO’s decision caused instability when some experienced employees learned that they have been overtaken (salary) by the favoured 24, causing the Board to declare the 15 percent salary raise as erroneously granted and proposing immediate halting, and recovery of previous overpayments.

A dispute ensued and the Manual Workers Union approached the Industrial Court to interdict BQA from downgrading the new salary grade in the new BQA structure, and also ordering BQA to continue paying the remuneration to the affected employees (union members) without any deductions.

BQA was not happy with the Industrial Court ruling, and then appealed to the Court of Appeal. 

The union was adamant that no deduction or recovery of the overpayment should be made against the 24 employees as that would prejudice them since they had arranged their lives on the basis of their new salaries.

The union also said that BQA unilaterally made a decision to reverse its members’ salary increases, and had intended to recover the purported overpayment, the gesture that will be an infringement on their contractual rights.

“Even if the BQA regarded the acting CEO’s action as having ultra vires (in contravention of the Act), this remained valid and effective unless and until set aside by a court of law. It was impermissible for BQA to effectively ignore his decision as a nullity, and to resort to self-help to reverse it,” argued the union, which argument was subsequently confirmed the Court of Appeal. It said that he acting CEO’s decision remained valid and could only be reversed or set aside by a court of law. 

For now, the employees will continue to enjoy their salaries until the matter has been negotiated at the JNC or CEO’s decision challenged in court.

The Court of Appeal also ordered BQA to pay the costs. 

Justices Ian Kirby, Isaac Lesetedi, and Zibane Makhwade whilst Mboki Chilisa represented the Manual Workers Union.

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Your daughter is not yours

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DNA TEST EXPOSES WIFE’S AFFAIR WITH BROTHER- IN -LAW

A cheated husband who unknowingly raised his brother- in- law’s child as his own for three years ended the marriage in court this week and demanded a refund.

Gilbert Tom, on Wednesday divorced Mpale Tom nee Roberts after DNA tests results revealed that that their last-born child was not biologically related to Tom. They had been married for 15 years.

Tom, 50, became suspicious that his wife was cheating in 2009 when his brother in-law got into the habit of dropping off Mpale at their house after work.

Mpale, 43, fell pregnant in 2016 and when the baby was born, her husband was shocked that the baby was a spitting image of his older sister’s husband.

He then launched his own investigations in Mpale’s phone where he found messages that confirmed his suspicions
Some text messages revealed that Mpale was so much in love with her brother -in -law that she was even prepared to bewitch her husband’s sister to get her out of the way.

After finding out for certain that he was raising a child who was not his, Tom served Mpale with divorce papers.

She did not contest the divorce and readily confessed in court that Tom was not the father of her three-year-old daughter.

Divorce was granted and Judge Gabanagae ordered that the child be excluded from Tom’s responsibilities.

WIFE: Mpale

However Tom went further and demanded that his brother- in- law and his ex- wife pay him costs of raising a child that was not his, which are to be determined by court at a later date.

According to a relative who refused to be named for fear of victimization Mpale and her brother-in law worked together at a mine in Toteng village in 2013 and the family suspects that was when the disgraced couple started the affair.

She said coincidentally in 2016 the two found another job and moved to Francistown together.

“These people were too deep. We never thought they could do that to their partners and we thought they just related well as family members and little did we know that they were dating. This is painful for both families and it is very unfortunate that an innocent child has now been caught in the middle,” said the concerned relative

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Mokubilo man accused of rape

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Letlhakane Police are investigating an incident in which a 28-year-old man allegedly raped a 34-year-old woman in the early hours of Monday morning (25 November).

The lady was on her way to Mokubilo Clinic – walking from the lands – when she reportedly met her armed attacker.

Taking over the narrative, Letlhakane Station Commander, Michael Maphephu told The Voice, “She reported that the suspect threatened to stab her with a sharpened iron rod.

“The suspect was arrested on the same day and will appear before court as soon as the Magistrate returns from sick leave,” said Maphephu, adding he could not release the accused’s name until he appears in court.

The worried police boss revealed this was the 89th rape case registered in his jurisdiction since the start of the year.

Maphephu added that most incidents involved women returning home in the evening after drinking or walking alone in the bush.

“I urge people to always walk in groups when they come from the bars or ask for company from trusted people when using bushy roads,” advised the top cop.

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Letlhakane police swoop on suspected drug dealers

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A Bobonong man was arrested last Tuesday after allegedly trying to sell villagers a suspicious substance believed to be cocaine.

Confirming the 24-year-old’s arrest, Letlhakane Station Commander, Michael Maphephu said, “The Mahumahibidu ward man was caught by members of the community when he was trying to sell to them.

“He was arrested around 1530 hours and found in possession of a substance suspected to be cocaine. The substance was contained in a small plastic sachet.”

In another drugs bust in Letlhakane, on Sunday cops swooped on a Francistown couple suspected to be dealing in the mining town.

CONFISCATED: Substances seized in F/town couple’s rented home

“The man aged 30 and his girlfriend 36 both from Francistown, Minestone were arrested at their rented house in Letlhakane. We suspect they were supplying to different people,” revealed Maphephu, adding this was the 38th drug-related arrest in his jurisdiction this year.

He warned those who sell drugs to refrain from such illegal behaviour as they are destroying lives.

“Drugs lead to one losing their mind and they even commit crimes like rape and murder under the influence of drugs,” noted the Station Commander.

The three suspects have since been released. The trio will appear in court as soon as the Magistrate returns from sick leave and the suspected drugs taken to the lab for forensic tests.

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