The Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo was on Thursday pushed against the wall over government’s decision to classify people engaged in Ipelegeng as employed labour, which the opposition legislators are adamant should not be regarded as employment.
According to government, the programme is aimed at short term employment support and relief whilst at the same time carrying out essential development projects that have been identified and prioritised through the normal development planning process.
Botswana includes the numbers of people engaged in Ipelegeng as employed when computing unemployment rate in the country- a move that has angered opposition Members of Parliament including Kentse Rammidi.
“This is so because Botswana subscribes to the International Labour Organisation definition of employment which describes an employed person as someone within the working age group who during the reference period performed some economic activity, either formal or informal,” stated Matambo answering a parliamentary question by Rammidi.
He added that Ipelegeng workers are engaged on a rotational basis for a period not exceeding three consecutive months, saying as a result it was not feasible to provide how much an Ipelegeng worker earns per annum as they are not engaged for the whole year.
“However, currently an Ipelegeng labourer earns P480 per month while a supervisor earns P560 per month,” Matambo said.
“What I know is that Ipelegeng workers are temporary employees,” he responded to MP for Gaborone Central Dumelang Saleshando.
Matambo would not know if temporary workers are included in ILO laws and policies, preferring to say his ministry’s decision was informed by the definition of the institution which refers to a “period of performed economic activity either formal or informal.”
He would push to the ministry of Labour and Home Affairs the reason Ipelegeng workers are not included in the minimum wage policy estimated at P500-800 per month. Besides cutting grass over highways, Ipelegeng workers clean public surroundings amongst other things.