Friday, January 22, 2021

Gov’t unable to retain attorneys – Kgathi

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi has said his ministry is currently facing an uphill battle to retain best performing employees due to bad conditions of service.

Officially opening the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office last week in Selibe Phikwe, Kgathi said that they are currently working around the clock to harmonize the situation.

“I would like to appreciate the work done by Government attorneys, Attorney General, DPP and Magistrates but I want to admit that there is serious challenge of Conditions of Service as we fail to retain our best employees,” he said.

He however said that the opening of Selibe Phikwe DPP office marks another significant milestone in the fulfillment and achievement of the 4th pillar of  Vision 2036 being, Governance, Peace and Security. He said bringing convenient quality legal services to the people goes a long way in ensuring a safe and secure nation where criminals are brought to book and justice is facilitated for victims of crime.

“Opening of this office is a demonstration that Selibe Phikwe shall never collapse. I will support Members of Parliament and other stakeholders such as SPEDU for the revitalization of Phikwe. With the construction of Platjaan bridge and opening of Mabolwe border post, these are all the factors that can bring change for Selibe Phikwe and surrounding areas,” he said.

While Selibe Phikwe is currently reeling through economic challenges after the closure of BCL two years ago, Kgathi said the former copper and nickel mining town can also be turned into a cultural excellence and tourism hub. Among other important issues he said that in its endeavor to ensure that convenient quality services for the people is achieved, government issued Cabinet Directive 32A in 2004 which provided for two strategies.

“These strategies were the takeover of delegated prosecution function from the Botswana Police Service (BPS) and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime(DCEC) and the decentralization of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. We are working around the clock to grow and capacitate the DPP,” he said.

The Minister said in light of this policy directive during the Midterm Review of the NDP 9, P209 million was allocated to the Attorney General’s Chambers for construction of offices and residential accommodation for DPP staff in at least six regions. He said to date the DPP has built offices in Gaborone and Francistown and opened other offices in Maun, Palapye, Lobatse and now in Selibe Phikwe, operated from a rented accommodation. He said construction of offices in Maun and Palapye are on-going and are envisaged to be completed in 2020.

“The opening of the DPP office in Selibe Phikwe comes with much benefit not only to the people of this area but also to government in that financial savings will be made since prosecutors will no longer be travelling long distances from Gaborone,Palapye and Francistown to prosecute matters before the Selibe Phikwe Magistates Court as they will now be resident here,” he added.

Touching on another advantage, he said cases which needed to be sent either to Gaborone or Francistown, the police will now simply drive a short distance to the DPP’s offices and submit the dockets.

Kgathi said this will reduce some of the systemic delays in the criminal justice process as now all stake-holders are within. He also said by government opening the Selibe Phikwe office the move will also help reduce crime as there will be speedy assessment of dockets, registration of cases, completion of trials and ultimate conviction of the guilty ones.

“Speedy trials by themselves act as a determent to would be criminals. I also look forward to the extension of the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the DPP to this branch office in order to take away the benefits of crime from criminals,” he said.

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