The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has done it again by throwing close to a quarter of a million pula into the drain after interdicting, with full salary, over 30 employees of the Student Placement and Welfare over allegations of corruption, only to have them served with letters of reinstatement, without charge, on Friday.
One of the affected staff, who refused to be identified, said that they were on Thursday phoned and instructed to be in their offices on Monday morning to start work without any explanation as to why they were interdicted in the first place.
He said that they had thought there would be an explanation of some type from their bosses but that nothing of that sort happened and they have, as a result, demanded to be addressed by the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, to seek explanation on why they were first interdicted and that the Minister should announce their reinstatement publicly just like she has done in Parliament, where she had made public her decision to interdict them.
“It is now clear to everyone that we had not done a thing that warranted our interdiction and it is my belief that the fact that we were once interdicted will be deleted from our work records as there was no reason to do that,” he said.
He also said that there was no job security at the Department as last year some staff members were interdicted for the same reasons that they were interdicted for only to be brought back later .
“One never knows if he will finish a day, month or year without being suspended or even interdicted in this Department. It is just like working at a cattle post where there is no job security,” lamented the staff member.
In the past, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Lenchwe Motshoganetsi, confirmed that they were investigating a case of corruption against the interdicted staff members and then later on, when asked if it was true that their investigations had came up with nothing, he declined to comment saying that he could not comment on on-going investigations. Attempts to speak to him on the issue this week were futile.
The staff members’ suspension is believed to have contributed to some students, who were supposed to be sponsored by the Department, failing to meet their deadlines at the Botswana Accountancy College and also caused some confusion on those who were bound for foreign universities.
It is also believed that the interdiction will lead to the department paying a lot of money in overtime for the employees who had been interdicted in order for them to catch up with lost time in processing sponsorships for students.
Most of the tertiary colleges in the country are due to open in two months’ time and the staff member said that getting all the successful students sponsorship documents will take working overtime and on weekends.
Questions regarding the lifting of the interdiction of staff members were referred to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry but no response had been received at the time of going to press.