Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ministry refuses to reinstate axed civil servants

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that that it will not reinstate its former employees who had participated in the 2011 public service strike despite a recommendation by President Ian Khama and former Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) Director Festinah Bakwena.

The Telegraph has learnt that the employees had been sent from pillar to post by officials at the Office of the President and the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry’s spokesperson Doreen Motshegwa, said the ministry made a conscious decision not to employ those over 50 years of age and those who had undesirable conduct prior to or during the strike.┬á

“DPSM granted employees who went on strike pardon so as to allow them to seek employment and be considered for employment within the public service. Unfortunately at that time the Ministry of Health had started out-sourcing its none core functions in line with the government policy.┬á The out-sourcing exercise was conceived in 2004, started within the Ministry of Health in 2010 and was operationalised in 2011,” said Motshegwa.

She added that some former employees have not been absorbed and will not be absorbed as we have out-sourced none core services.  During outsourcing, employees who had not gone on strike were re-deployed within the ministry where there were vacancies.

Motshegwa confirmed that her Ministry is aware of letters that pardoned employees who were on strike. 

“The pardon was meant to facilitate smoother employment within the public service should they wish to seek employment, but not to be automatically employed.┬á Furthermore, the complaints procedure of the Ministry of Health advises complainants to seek redress of their issues with the Office of the President if not happy with how their issues are handled by the ministry,” said Motshegwa.

Asked if there are any available options that the Ministry could recommend for the former employees, Motshegwa said there is no issue to resolve as far as the ministry is concerned. “Complainants were advised not to confine their job seeking with MoH only, but to seek employment within the Public Service where vacancies are available.”

The dismissed employees had written a string of letters to President Ian Khama. It is understood that in one of the responses President Khama promised to meet with the employees in June this year but the meeting never took place as his secretaries cited his busy schedule.

In a letter dated 6th October, Khama’s Senior Private Secretary, George Tlhalerwa, who is also accused by the employees of being a stumbling block that stops the employees from meeting the President informed them that their request to meet with the President was unsuccessful.

He informed them that despite President Khama’s busy schedule as being one of the reasons not to meet them, the Office of the President had considered various options and advice; there was nothing that could be done.

It is also understood that some of the former employees’ names still exist in the DPSM data base as employees who are still receiving their monthly salaries.

The employees questioned Tlhalerwa’s wisdom that the President doesn’t want to meet them after he had assured every citizen that his doors were open.

For his part, Tlhalerwa dismissed accusations that he was the stumbling block for the former employees to have an audience with President Khama.

“I just met them recently and advised them that they have a number of options which include among others, seeking legal advice or taking the matter to court. They can also lodge an appeal with the Office of the President. They are not doing justice to their case,” said Tlhalerwa.

Despite its refusal to reinstate some of its former employees, The Ministry of Health is still in dire need of some of the services provided by the sacked employees.

At least 500 employees were sacked from the Ministry and only less than five doctors and nurses were re-employed.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper