Monday, July 4, 2022

BLLAHWU president forced to back-off

Members of BLLAWU Burial Society will meet in Palapye over the weekend to resume their Annual General meeting a happy lot after the president of their parent union abandoned an attempt to remove their chairperson, Tebogo Moalosi, on Monday.

Moalosi told The Telegraph that the AGM, which was suspended late last year due to disruptions and tension between the union leadership and burial society, will resume on Saturday.

Appearing before Justice Michael Mothobi at the High Court on Monday, lawyers representing the burial society and Botswana Land boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) president, Goretetse Kekgonegile, told court that the parties had agreed on an amicable solution to the dispute.

Court then confirmed a hastily prepared order by the attorneys, which effectively preserves the status quo, the current working relationship between the two parties.

“We have always maintained that there is no issue of contention here. We are going to continue working with the union leadership as has been the case,” said Moalosi. “We will convene a meeting with NEC soon to pave the way forward.”

The urgent application filed by the burial society management committee against Kekgonegile came about after the latter wrote Moalosi a letter dated October 11, 2012 purporting to take over the chairmanship of the society as per the decision of the governing council. The governing council of the union had resolved that the president should assume the chairmanship of all companies it owns.

In an affidavit filed in court, Moalosi avers that the Burial Society is a separate entity and operates independently from the union, as demonstrated by factors such as its authority to invest and raise its own revenue from contributions made by its members, and acquisition and ownership of own property. The management committee argued in court papers that the General council resolution (to remove Moalosi) was substantively and procedurally unlawful and, therefore, null and void. In fact, they submitted that there is nowhere in the constitution of the union that gives any of its structural bodies the power to appoint the burial society’s chairman. They wanted court to interdict Kekgonegile and/ or any member of the union from taking over the chairmanship of the burial society.

The Monday case is one of the many cases that have come to characterize the relationship between Kekgonegile and the Burial Society. At one stage, Kekgonegile was forced to beat a hasty retreat from a plan to reshuffle the central executive committee (CEC) on allegations of non-performance by some leaders made in March 2012. The society argued that the appointment was invalid as proper employment procedures of the society as well as those of the union were not observed. Sources close to the union claimed the reshuffle decision was triggered by an earlier CEC decision which reversed Kekgonegile’s unilateral re-appointment of one Tshepo Kgwadi as a Fund Administrator of BLLAHWU Burial Society. The CEC decision nullifying Kekgonegile’s brought into sharp focus his vulnerability.

A court case emanating from the fallout was withdrawn from the High court at the eleventh hour on the advice of the CEC. Besides accusing Kekgonegile of undermining its authority, the Burial Society leadership further faulted him for flagrant and wanton interference with its operations.

BLLAWU Burial Society was registered on March 3, 2010 with the Registrar of Societies, with its own constitution that governs its own affairs and operations. It was formed to promote a platform for an affordable funeral scheme for the members, amongst other objectives.

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