Sunday, March 3, 2024

Minister De Graaf’s statement disputed

A statement on Botswana Meat Commission’s recruitment made by Minister of Agriculture, Christian de Graaf, during the last meeting of parliament is being disputed by an interested party.

The statement was in answer to Francistown South MP, Khumongwana Maoto, about the BMC abattoir in his constituency recruiting expatriates for positions that could be easily filled by unemployed Batswana graduates from technical colleges.

In response, De Graaf told parliament that it was difficult to find suitably qualified Batswana.
One such post for which qualified Batswana could not be found was that for refrigeration technician which De Graaf said was still vacant because BMC could not find a suitably qualified candidate.

“An expatriate employee was identified with experience and offered a lower position of artisan refrigeration while the search for a qualified refrigeration technician continues. This is a very critical post for BMC due to the need to comply with strict temperature requirements while at the same time, locals with the requisite knowledge and experience are hard to find,” De Graaf told parliament on July 30.

However, a month after the minister’s statement, Basha Mmusi, a Motswana who believes he has both the qualifications and experience for the job has come forward to state that he applied for the job but was never even called for an interview.

Mmusi studied refrigeration and air-conditioning at the former Botswana Polytechnic, which has since incorporated into the University of Botswana and renamed the Faculty of Engineering and Technology. He joined the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation as a trainee technician and later enrolled at Humber College in Toronto on a three-year technician diploma programme administered by the World University Service of Canada. In his first two years at Humber, Mmusi studied HVAC/R ÔÇô Heating, Ventilation, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration. In the third and final year, he took energy management and qualified as an energy technologist upon completion of the programme. His qualification is equivalent to the United Kingdom’s Higher National Diploma.

Coming back home, Mmusi rejoined BTC and progressed up the ladder to become senior assistant engineer, a position he held in 2003 when he left the organisation. All told, Mmusi has 20 years of experience.

The other post that Maoto queried about was that of production engineer which is also currently held by an expatriate. De Graaf’s answer, with regard to this particular post, was that the post was filled by an expatriate “after the Motswana incumbent resigned from BMC for greener pastures.” An expatriate engineer at Lobatse was transferred to fill the post “after advertisements to fill the post were not successful as BMC packages in the engineering cadre are not competitive compared to what the mining sector offers.”

On the other hand, sources tell Sunday Standard that the Motswana engineer was frustrated out of the job by an expatriate manager. Soon after the Motswana engineer left, the expatriate engineer was transferred from Lobatse.


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