Sunday, April 21, 2024

Manual workers want stake of P40 billion BPOPF

The Government Manual Workers Union led by their Organising Secretary, Johnson Motshwarakgole, is calling for reforms at the government dominated Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund.

The Manual Workers Union has written a letter to BPOPF Chairman, Carter Morupisi, demanding a seat on the Fund’s Board of Trustees.

“Our members, unlike those of other trade unions, are currently not represented by any trade union on the BPOPF Board of Trustees. We, however, note that the Rules of the Fund require that a ballot be held every five years for the election of member Trustees. Our research indicates that no ballot for the election of employee trustees has been conducted over the last five years. In view of the fact that no ballot has been organized for the last five years, we call upon you to take immediate steps to ensure that a ballot is organized within the next 6 weeks so that our members can elect Trustees of their choice. Kindly let us know within 7 days of receipt of hereof, what measures you are putting in place for organizing such a ballot so as to enable us to effectively repre4sent our members,” says part of Motshwarakgole’s letter.

Morupisi, who is also the Director of the Public Service Management, was recently appointed Chairman of BPOPF after internal intrigues that saw the Chief Executive Officer, Ephraim Letebele, sacked.

Letebele is currently challenging his dismissal in court.

There has been a protracted and messy tussle for control of the close to P40 billion Fund.
The protagonists for control chiefly involve the Bank of Botswana, which has long argued that they are the best qualified to manage the fund.

Observers have read Bank of Botswana’s hand behind the sacking of Letebele, who steadfastly cast aside all attempts by the Bank to take over the Fund.

So determined is Bank of Botswana to wrestle control of the Fund that they have on numerous occasions made presentations to the Ministry of Finance, arguing the case on the efficacy of their rightfulness to be the ones running what has since become a honeypot for the powerful in government.
The other side of the equation involves the Office of the President.

There are powerful hands at the Presidency, who are working in cahoots with Bank of Botswana have been instrumental in planting their handpicked favourites to chair the Fund’s Board of Trustees against the rules of the Fund, which call for independence and detachment of the Fund from the public service.

The plan, it would seem, is to ultimately deliver the Fund under the abode of Bank of Botswana.

Morupisi has told the Sunday Standard that the board will meet soon to take a decision on whether Manual Workers Union should be represented on the Fund’s Board of Trustees.

He confirmed that he indeed had received a letter from the Union demanding representation on the Board.

“I have received their letter and it is yet to be presented to the board and it shall take the ultimate decision,” said Morupisi.

“The reason why they do not have any representation on the board is that the new Pensions law came into effect before manual workers converted to permanent and pensionable,” he explained.

“It is, therefore, up to the relevant structure to make the decision,” he added.

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