The Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Acting President, Olebile Molamu has accused President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi of selectively fighting corruption.
Speaking during the Labour Day Celebrations in Francistown last week, Molamu expressed concern that the Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, living with allegations of corruption involving funds belonging to public service employees’ pensions, continues to hold office and has never been investigated.
He pleaded with the President to act swiftly on allegations levelled against Morupisi.
“Your Excellency, while your government has committed to fight corruption, we are of the view that enough is not being done safe for some few grandstanding overtures where the media is being called to watch when suspects are being searched and later released. We are worried your Excellency that your attempts to fight corruption are being applied selectively,” he lamented.
He said over the past five years, corruption has found its roots in the country. He emphasized that corruption has resulted in Botswana being grey listed by the international financial institutions.
He said this has come at a price in that some international banks and financial institutions are now rejecting the financial assets that come from Botswana.
“Such dire consequences have already been felt by BPOPF. This scenario that we find ourselves in is quite worrisome and indeed disturbing,” said Molamu.
On a different note he said that while BOFEPUSU is not actually against the recent salary increment for Members of Parliament, councillors and Dikgosi the unions feel very strongly that this process of consideration for adjustment for political officers’ lacks decency and it is against all known corporate standard practices. He said that it is unethical and amounts to a direct conflict of interest for MPs to be considering their own salary increment.
“As BOFEPUSU, we take this very seriously and call for a situation in which an independent body would be established to consider the remuneration of the political officers. We are further worried that in spite of the fact that government was reluctant in going beyond six percent and 10 percent for the public service under the pretext that any more percentages of increment would balloon the budget beyond the allowed 4 percent deficit of the total GDP, in increasing the salaries for politicians, this principle seems to have been ignored. This then puts to question the honesty and sincerity of government during the negotiations,” Molamu said.
Among other important issues, he also said that it is high time that Industrial Councils are established in the Private Sector. He said it is factual that one of the hindrances that result in difficulty to bargain and negotiate better for good working conditions by trade unions in the private sector is the absence of organized Industrial Councils. He pleaded with government to help BOFEPUSU in protecting citizens in order to ensure that different sectors in the private sector have Industrial Council. He said this will go a long way to harmonize the conditions of service of employees in firms within the same sectors.
“It will as well ease up the bargaining process by trade unions operating within such sectors. The starting point however is to amend the Trade Dispute Act to easy up the establishment of such. Failure to do so by government will always leave trade unions and employees in the private sector hamstrung and toothless. This is yet another test that we put before President Masisi if ever he has the welfare of Batswana workers at heart,” said Molamu.
Touching on the living wage, he said it is disheartening that most of their brothers, sisters and their children and parents who work mainly in retail shops, the chain stores, Chinese restaurants and shops, the filling stations, media houses, private security services are remunerated meagre and slavery wages.
He said some earn as little as P800.00 per month and added that this is a result of the absence of a research based Minimum Living Wage that would have taken into consideration all factors as per the International Labour Organization(ILO) guidance on calculation of living wages.
“We call upon government on this Labour Day to commit to the commencement of such a study on Botswana’s Minimum Living Wage. Failure to do so would indicate lack of commitment to protect Batswana from these profit oriented monopolistic capitalists,” he said.
The International Labour Day Celebrations which were also attended by President Masisi were held under the theme “Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement” said Molamu.