The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) last week expressed worry at the persecution and purging of union officials by the government of Botswana. In a statement released on Friday, BOFEPUSU said it views the persecution of union officials as a continuation of the resolve by government to take away unions organizational rights which are enshrined in the labour statutes and recognition agreements.
BOFEPUSU statement comes after the Francistown City Council (FCC) wrote to Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, Deputy Secretary General of BOFEPUSU, summoning him to a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday allegedly for absconding from work.
According to the letter, Motshegwa is charged with absence from duty without leave or reasonable excuse as outlined in the Public Service Act No. 30 of 2008, section 37(a).
FCC argues that Motshegwa, being a person employed in the public service as Council Clerk II, has absented himself from work without any excuse provided with his office and /or supervisors or without leave since 20 August 2014 up to date.
On the second count Motshegwa is charged with wilful disobedience of lawful or reasonable orders given by the employer as outlined in Public Service Act No 30 of 2008, section 27 (3) (b). The FCC accuses Motshegwa of wilfully disobeying lawful and reasonable orders given by the employer calling upon him to report for duty, thus contravening section 27(3)(b) of Public Service Act No. 30 of 2008.
In light of the above counts, FCC invited Motshegwa to a disciplinary hearing scheduled for 13th May at 0900 hours at Civic Centre, Office No.902.
The disciplinary hearing will be chaired by Robert Rabasimane, Chief Human Resources and Administration officer at Lobatse Town Council and Edwin Pheko, Acting Deputy Town Clerk at the FCC.
When responding to the charges, BOFEPUSU said FCC knows quite well that Motshegwa was seconded to Botswana Landboard Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) in accordance with the recognition agreement that the union has with the employer.
“The public has to note that not too long ago the FCC arbitrarily and unlawfully stopped Cde Motshegwa’s salary on the pretext that he had been dismissed for absconding, but it was later reinstated through court intervention,” said BOFEPUSU.
Government slapped Motshegwa with a similar charge last year and the matter ended up at the High Court after he sued FCC and the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) for failing to pay his June 2014 salary. DPSM, FCC chickened out of a legal battle and Justice Key Dingake later ordered government to pay for the costs of suit.