There is mounting evidence that Government, and the new Civil Aviation Authority could be cited for litigation within the next three months, following a decision to sideline nearly all the staff who worked for the former Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) despite their having the required qualifications.
Contrary to reasons given by the CAA Board for its present inability to fill the remaining 648 positions after only 158 people were employed, it has now emerged that there may be more to CAA’s media briefing of the 26th March 2010 at Cresta Lodge.
The authority’s board had expressed the view at that briefing, that finding the right material for filling the remaining vacancies was an uphill battle, as many did not possess the appropriate qualifications for the advertised positions.
The “lack of qualified staff” issue seems to have infuriated former DCA staff, who in turn accused the new Chief Executive Officer of CAA, Meshesha Belayneh, of playing hide and seek.
One of the ex-DCA engineers, who preferred anonymity, said, “It is rather difficult to speculate on the motivations of the head of the new DCA, but what certainly emerges is a clearly cynical agenda to portray the former aviation body in bad light just because there would be no one to respond on its behalf.”
However, what hurts most, according to the ex-DCA staff, is the fact that even as the CAAB claims to have found DCA in a wanting state, to the extent of labeling them “the inherited rot”, Government has spent a lot of money training a considerable number of them in prestigious universities overseas.
For that reason, Botswana’s civil aviation earned the respect of the world, despite its small airports.
This was in response to an article previously published in the newspapers to the effect that the new authority has inherited a rot from the former DCA.
It was argued by the ex-DCA staff that Botswana’s Civil Aviation was in fact one of the best few respected in the world besides having small airports, and that they were capable of delivering as they possessed the correct skill and acumen.
On the contrary, it is claimed by the ex-DCA employees that the recruitment process used for filling the existing positions was not transparent, and thereby prone to be manipulated ion favour of friends and relatives.
In addition, they accuse Belayneh of being deliberately dishonest to suggest lack of qualified staff as a factor just because he does not want to hire former DCA employees for reasons perhaps of wanting to start afresh,” otherwise if it were because of DCA being a rot, Belayneh would not if he played smart since he was the one that was part of a team that was charged with the implementation of the findings of the 2006 Audit Report from 2008, but to no avail.
“As part of his mandate, Belayneh was supposed to oversee the transition from the former DCA into the CAAB, of which the number of people so far employed by the new authority as at now, may not be a very good record if used to measure the impact of his initiative since that time,” posited an aircraft controller who claims to be temporarily hired by CAAB.
Other allegations made against the CAAB Chief include what were described as wasteful international travels with family during the transition period and workshops with implications for the success of the transformation process.
For his part, Belayneh has quashed the allegations with water, arguing that they lack substance because the outlook of the new authority does not need to be coloured or shaped by the number of people left out in the recruitment drive than, it is efficiency that must take precedence.
Moreover, Belayneh intimated that, even assuming things were to be otherwise, the structure and number of the workforce to be engaged by the CAAB is a matter that involves approval of Government, and consequently even regarding the issue of transparency in employment, he said it was unfortunate that not everyone can be taken.
Information passed to the The Sunday Standard showed that a group of affected ex-DCA staff who are set to be retired at the end of July, are planning to take the CAAB and Government to Court over, what they termed casual treatment despite the serious trauma they are going through as a result.