Wednesday, June 7, 2023

BDF Zoologist loses scarce skills case

A Botswana Defense Force (BDF) officer has lost with costs a case in which he was challenging the army Commander’s decision to exclude him from being paid a 40 percent scare skills allowance.

The officer, Captain Stephen Mpofu, who holds a BSC in Zoology from Oregon University in the United States of America, wanted the BDF to recognize him as a Veterinary Technician and pay him scarce skills allowance. Court records show that Mpofu is employed as a soldier and works as an Animal Awareness Park Manager. His duties include performing a variety of animal health care duties, preparing patients’ medications and equipment for surgery and handing instruments and materials to the veterinarian during surgical procedures. He wanted the High Court to review the decision of the BDF Commander to exclude him from the 40 percent scarce skills allowance and to be paid the allowance as per his monthly income from 25th July 2009 to date.

When passing judgment, High Court Judge Key Dingake dismissed Mpofu’s application, saying he does not qualify to be recognized as a Veterinary Technician because he does not possess any qualification in Animal Science or Animal Health and Production.

“It is common cause that Mpofu possesses a BSC in Zoology. It is not disputed that he may have taken some courses in biology of mammals, vertebrae biology and physiology while pursuing his degree program in Zoology. But that does not qualify him as a Veterinary Technician, ”said Justice Dingake.

He added that Veterinary Technicians who are paid scarce skills allowance are those with qualifications in Animal Science or Animal Health and Production, not Zoology.

“The application ought to fail on the basis that the BDF Commander was actually not even cited as required by the law,” said Justice Dingake.

The Attorney General was cited as the first respondent, Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) as second respondent and BDF as third respondent in the matter.


Read this week's paper