Sunday, January 17, 2021

Fired directors take government to court

Directors of government departments who were last year sacked from the Public Service have taken the government to court demanding their jobs back.

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), along with the fired civil servants, filed a case with the Lobatse High Court this week , seeking a review and setting aside of a decision by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Carter Morupisi, to retire the former government employees.

The eighteen employees who are listed along with the Union as applicants were sacked from the Public Service in October last year through a letter from Morupisi.

Waging the war along with the fired employees, BOPEU, through an affidavit deposed by its President, Andrew Motsamai, contend that the fired employees had expected to serve within the civil service until they attained the age of 60 as per the new Public Service Act.

The Union points out that the Public Service Act that was passed by parliament in December 2008 outlawed ‘the appointing authority’s power to retire a public officer, at his discretion’.

“As a result of representations made by government ,in particular the DPSM and her immediate reports, first applicant ,and all its members and public officers ,had a legitimate expectation that post 1 April 2009,they would not be subjected to the detrimental labour practices that have been jettisoned by the New Public Service Act,” reads part of Motsamai’s affidavit .

The Union further argues that Morupisi’s decision to retire the eighteen employees violated a section of the General Orders. According to the Union and the fired employees, Morupisi was supposed to make a recommendation as well as furnish reasons to the DPSM as to why the said employees had to be retired from the public service.

“The Permanent Secretary, contrary to Order 18.3.1,did not make recommendations , but in fact, took final decisions to retire the Applicants ,which decisions were not supported by any reasons,” states Motsamai.

According to the applicants, Morupisi’s decision to retire the eighteen from the Public Service was irrational because it failed to take into account each individual’s history while serving as a government employee. The Union contends that the employees have to be reinstated because some were fresh from promotion upon assessment of their performance. Further, the Union argues that some of the employees had, prior to their forced retirement, been hailed as high flyers.

“Needless to say, none of the Applicants have ever received complaints regarding their individual performance. All were good performers,” argues Motsamai in the filed court papers.

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