Sunday, May 22, 2022

Housing census enumerators sue Statistics Botswana

Statistics Botswana is facing a lawsuit from 2022 Population and Housing Census trainee supervisors and enumerators.

The concerned supervisors and enumerators have since engaged Yandani Boko Law Firm seeking explanation on their engagement. 

In the letter addressed to Statistics Botswana titled “2022 Population and Housing Census Trainee Supervisors and Enumerators Complaints” the supervisors and enumerators sought clarity, “on Employer’s (Gaborone Office of the District Commissioner/Statistics Botswana) terms and conditions of training and subsequent employment for supervisors and enumerators.”

“Our concerns revolve around the following; Our clients are shocked by your office’s decision to decide against paying them accommodation and dinner allowance, stating that the mere fact of applying in Gaborone Office of the District Commissioner translates to having accommodation in Gaborone,” reads the letter.

According to the letter, “The shock nourished by the fact that trainee enumerators in other districts are paid P300.00 (three hundred pula) per day as accommodation.”

In one of the letters addressed to the concerned supervisors and enumerators, Statistician General Button Nguni explained that “the non-resident trainee enumerators shall be given P300.00 allowance for lodging, P50.00 allowance for supper.”

“All trainee enumerators shall be given P50 for transport, supervisors are eligible for subsistence allowance, if the training venue is located outside their locality of residence,” he said. He said the criteria used to determine eligibility for payment of these allowances, was therefore strictly on the basis of the locality where training was taking placed, such that no payment was to be made where a supervisor or trainee enumerator’s locality of residence was the same as the locality where the training venue was based except for transport allowance for enumerators.

“For all intent and purposes, enumerators will be deployed at their locality of residence. In instances where an enumerator is deployed at an area outside their locality of residence, they will be eligible for subsistence allowance,” said Mguni.

He said supervisors deployed in areas outside their locality of residence shall be eligible for subsistence allowance.

“Enumerators are engaged to conduct interviews in an enumeration area and they are to complete this within 12 days from 18th to 29th March 2022, with possible extension of two (2) days from 30th – 31st March 2022, upon approval,” said Mguni.

He said an enumeration area is composed on average, of 75 to 220 dwellings. These will vary between urban and rural areas taking into consideration the varying distances between dwellings in built-up areas and between both dwellings and localities in sparsely populated areas.

“It should be understood that the aforementioned times, are just parameters within which enumeration should be conducted. That is to say, both the enumerators and supervisors are permitted to work flexible times within these hours, as long as they meet the daily work requirements,” said Mguni.

 On the overall, no work shall be carried out in excess of 12 hours per day, he said.

“The census allowance shall be a flat rate of P420.00 per day for Supervisors and P360.00 per day for Enumerators. This is perked slightly above the bottom notch of C3 and C4 Government salary scale, respectively,” he said.

Lillian Mogami Manager-Communication, Documentation & Dissemination said in a response to this publication’s query that, “It is important to note that the success of the census enumeration exercise is highly dependent on a full complement of enumerators, availability of other resources such as electronic tablets and transport.”

She conceded that any shortage relating to any of these factors could impact on the project delivery.

“It is however pleasing to report that most of the challenges that impacted the project start have been adequately addressed. With regards to the alleged contentious issues, it is important to note that before the start of the project, only 2% of the trainee enumerators were dissatisfied with their prospective terms and conditions of employment, and subsequently some dropped out of the training programme,” she said. Mogami added that, “This occurrence has however not affected the outcome of the census as an excess number of trainee enumerators were invited for training. At the end of the training, there were over 300 reserves across the districts.”

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper