Thursday, February 25, 2021

Mass resignations shake Prisons Department

A series of resignations of officers from the Botswana Prisons Department is reported to be taking its toll on the department’s mandate as it is confronted by shortage of manpower.

The core mandate of the department is dual as in providing safe and humane custody of offenders as well as rehabilitation of offenders and re-integration. However, the resignations are expected to hamper the department in executing its mandate due to shortage of human resources.

The resignations are also said to cost the department as it has to train officers but fails to retain them. The mass exodus is a result of disgruntled officers in search of greener pastures.

This week, the department moved swiftly and flighted an advert in the newspapers as it engages in a massive staff recruitment drive.

While he is credited with bringing some positive changes at the department, sources say Prisons Commissioner, Colonel Silas Molatlekgosi, has failed to address conditions of service for officers such as security and remunerations.

“We work under deplorable conditions. We deal with hardcore criminals in most cases and you will find that we are not armed; our security is compromised. At least they should also consider intruding risk allowance,” said one of the officers who resigned recently.

The officer added this week, “The prisons department keeps on losing the cream of manpower to the Botswana Police Service because there is a huge salary disparity if you compare the two departments. The authorities have long ago promised to review conditions of service and salaries but nothing has come out of their promises.”

Responding to Sunday Standard queries, the Department’s Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent Wamorena Ramolefe, confirmed that at least 84 officers resigned countrywide from the Botswana Prison Service effective from January 2012 to date.

Ramolefe remained tight-lipped on the reason for resigning and would not disclose the department’s next course of action.

He acknowledged that every prison officer plays an important part towards the attainment of the mandate of Botswana Prison Service; hence the resignation of an individual member is a sad loss to the department.

“We can confirm that one of our psychologists recently resigned from the Prison Service,” he said.
Ramolefe added that: “From time to time, people separate from their employers for various reasons; a numbers of them cite going for greener pastures while some state furthering their studies as reasons.”

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