Thursday, July 9, 2020

BOPEU takes Ministry of Education and the DPSM to court

The president of the Botswana Public Service Union (BOPEU), Andrew Motsamai, says that they have taken the Ministry of Education and Skills Development as well as the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) to the Industrial Court to seek explanation in regard to unfair labour treatment on their members.

This follows after 36 employees of the Ministry of Education, Department of Student Placement and Welfare, were early this year interdicted from work for two months on allegations that they were being investigated for possible corruption then reinstated and transferred to different departments within the Ministry without a valid explanation on whether, amongst other things, investigations on them had ceased.

Motsamai, said that they had resorted to the Industrial Court after numerous letters they wrote to the MoE and DPSM yielded no satisfactory answers to the questions they asked them.

He said that the questions they asked were in regards to unlawful transfers of their members after they were reinstated. According to him, labour laws in this country state that transfers even within departments can only be carried out after those concerned have been fully consulted. In this case , he said that was not done and the concerned officers were transferred immediately after they had been reinstated but without proper consultation with them.

Besides that, he said that they have gone to Court to seek explanations on whether it was lawful for the MoE and DPSM to have the employees working for them whilst questions of whether they were still being investigated or not have not been answered.

He also said that they had gone to Court to seek explanations from the two bodies on what the results of the investigations, which were carried out concerning corruption, had revealed.
This point is apparently one of the most important as the employees feel that it was very likely that the investigations had not revealed any wrong doing amongst them whilst, as had happened with other MOE officials who had been investigated before on same allegations which later proved to have been false.

The employees feel that it is important for results to be made public because when they were interdicted, Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi went public in Parliament and announced that they were being interdicted, pending investigations into corruption allegations in the Department.
Some of the concerned employees even feel that Moitoi should go back to Parliament and announce the findings of the investigations just as she has done earlier on after they had been interdicted.
“She should tell the nation what their investigations have revealed just like she did previously when we were interdicted,” said one of the employees.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.