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Did Govt Err?

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Did Govt Err?

Union leaders lambast govt for halting salary increment

Government has reneged on an agreement it had in reference to 2018 negotiations rules for salary negotiations of financial years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of 3rd February 2020 between itself and public sector Unions.

The new development has put in place a unilateral decision to a decree, to cut and defer salary increment of public servants for six months.

The issue has been met with different reactions from the public.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA engages opposition parties leadership, union leaders and some political analysts on the issue.

Did Govt Err?
Phenyo Butale – Secretary General for Alliance for Progressives

Any decision, even during extraordinary times, needs to bring stakeholders who make our economy and society to function into confidence.

It is clear workers were not brought into confidence nor were there due processes for a give and take.

These are fundamental tenets for building a fair society even during extraordinary times.

So it was wrong for the government to renege on the agreement without consulting unions.

This trend of unilateral decision making is worrisome.

Kebapetse Lotshwao – Political Analyst
Government has only deferred the increment, workers will be paid once the crisis has passed.

In my view, workers have nothing to worry about.

They are better, if not privileged, as other people are unemployed or will not be paid for sometime.

Some businesses are even closed.

Did Govt Err?
Moeti Mohwasa- Head of Communications for Umbrella for Democratic Change

This was definitely well ochestrated move by the government.

We believe when the president went for the six months state of public emergency and pushed for suspension of industrial action, they had already decided not to pay civil servants the agreed increment.

This shows that contrary to what some union leaders had said about the current administration, nothing has changed.

If anything it has worsened.

There was no proper consultation. How do you wait until pay day and then tell the workers you are disregarding an existing agreement?

It is so demeaning, inconveniencing and a mockery of good labour practice and social justice.

If the government can behave like this, it goes a long way to show the type of leaders we have.

Disregard of workers and their interests is in the Botswana Democratic Party DNA. Government would never do this to Business because it is there to protect their interests.

Workers should know who their true friends are and not allow themselves to be hoodwinked.

Did Govt Err?
Roseline Panzirah Matshome- Secretary General of Botswana Patriotic Front

We are not surprised, it’s nothing new, this government is not truthful.

They say one thing and do something different all the time.

But it all boils down to consultation, people need to learn to consult before taking action.

Did Govt Err?
Ketlhalefile Motshegwa- Deputy Secretary General for BOFEPUSU

This unfortunate action by Government is contemptuous of the spirit of good faith in negotiations and bargaining, for this unilateralism dents and toxicates industrial relations, something that is gravely terrible for the socio-economic landscape of the Country.

The Federation urges the leadership of the Country to be thoughtful enough and espouse sound industrial relations, by respecting and complying with particulars of Collective Bargaining Agreement with Public Sector Unions.

Government must be sensitive to the reality that, should she unrelentingly persist with her mission, such will further exacerbate the already virulent industrial relations in the public service.

n another note the Federation is tremendously disquieted by unabating violation of workers’ rights in private sector during Covid-19 pandemic.

There are some ruthless and vicious companies that are making drastic and prejudicial decisions affecting employees, and aggravatingly without even involving employees or their Unions.

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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods

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The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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Guma Moyo returns

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*Controversial politician headed for BPF *BURS owes me P6 million and I am waiting for reimbursement- Moyo

Self-exiled former legislator, Guma Moyo, is reportedly headed back home from South Africa to rejoin local politics after applying for Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) membership.

The flamboyant businessman and former Member of Parliament for Tati-East has been missing in action after he left the country under a dark cloud of controversy claiming that he was fearing for his life.

It also turned out during his sojourn in South Africa that Moyo had also been under the taxman’s radar, with allegations of tax evasion further fueling the confusion over his decision to flee.

The outspoken politician fell off with his party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in a factional war that saw him lead a campaign that endorsed Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi against President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency.

Although he was expected to support Venson Moitoi, Moyo did not attend the Kang Congress leading to his dismissal from the party.

In an interview with The Voice this week, Moyo confirmed having applied for the BPF membership.

“I have applied for BPF membership. They are my friends and I think that’s where I am welcome.”

He dismissed allegations that he was joining BPF to challenge Biggie Butale for the party presidency.

“They have a leader and I am not joining to lead but to be part of the collective of the party. I believe in them.”

When asked how he was going to work with the party patron, former President Ian Khama, who he didn’t have a good working relationship during his tenure as President, Moyo said, “My relationship with Khama is unquestionable, politics or no politics we are inseparable…Yes we had differences at some point but he apologised for having been misled by some government officials to take decisions that he took and I accepted the apology. That chapter is closed. ” he added.

In May 2015, Moyo says he had the shock of his life when he learnt from one of the banks that they had been instructed to freeze his accounts on graft allegations.

Investigators in the matter questioned the over P25 million which was paid into Moyo’s business account and they suspected that the invoices that Moyo produced had been fabricated.

Before that, the then President Khama hasd launched a scathing attack on Moyo, saying he did not have the interests of the electorates at heart after he was dropped from cabinet.

He said Moyo was only looking for power and self enrichment.

Moyo mentioned that despite having been fired by the BDP, he was grateful to the party for making him what he is today. “I have accepted the move and will not go back.”

BPF Secretary General, Roseline Panzirah Matshome confirmed having received Moyo’s application.

Meanwhile, Moyo has made shocking remarks that Botswana Unified Revenue Service owes him P6 million after he was initially alleged to be owing the tax collector.

The politician who is on self imposed exile in South Africa, says he is waiting for BURS to reimburse him.

“My accounts were frozen and after an audit was done it transpired that it was actually them that owed me, they must refund me,” he said and added: “Let’s not discuss it further because it is politics and it will catch up with them.”

However the BURS General Manager of Communications, Mable Bolele declined to comment on the allegations.

“We are unable to assist you since we do not discuss individual taxpayer issues with the third party as guided by Income Tax Act, Secrecy- under Section 5 Sub-section 1.”

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