Friday, July 3, 2020

“Vindictive” BOPEU thrown out of court

Francistown High Court’s Justice Bengbame Sechele stopped short of accusing  the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) of rumor mongering and meddling in the affairs of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC).

BOPEU which is estranged from Botswana Federation of Public Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) came across as a bitter scorned spouse after it applied that its former partner, BOFEPUSU be barred from the PSBC and be ordered to submit its audited membership figures for the period ended 31st 2016.

Justice Sechele ruled that, “This Court is loathe to micro manage the Fifth Respondent (PSBC) in the manner advocated by the Applicant (BOPEU) whose interest on the affairs of the 5th Respondent is no better than that of a company shareholder who seeks to institute proceedings on behalf of the company when such company is better positioned to do so,” said the judge.

 Sechele added that the “the interest that the Applicant has on the affairs of the 5th Respondent is, in my view indirect and cannot sustain its claim to locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court.”

 He noted that the PSBC is governed by its constitution and that there are structures that have been put in place to ensure compliance.

 Justice Sechele further stated that BOPEU President Masego Mogwera stated in her affidavit that BOPEU became aware that BOFEPUSU was not a member in good standing but the source of such awareness is not stated. He observed that BOPEU further alludes to a request for a meeting of the PSBC at the instance of BOFEPUSU but how BOPEU learnt of this, he said, is yet again not stated.

BOPEU had stated that it has a substantial and direct interest in the affairs of PSBC and in particular, that it is properly constituted in terms of its constitution, rules and regulations and therefore in a position to generate lawfully binding resolutions.

 BOPEU had wanted the court to direct BOFEPUSU to pay more than P1 million and be suspended from the membership of the PSBC. The Union also wanted the court to cause the Chairman of PSBC to be interdicted from convening a meeting of the PSBC pending compliance.

 BOPEU had also stated that it had satisfied the requirements for the granting of an interim interdict and it stood to suffer irreparable harm if an interim interdict was not granted as its members stood to lose out on the salary increments that have been awarded to them should the PSBC proceed to convene a meeting against the backdrop of BOFEPUSU’s non-compliance.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.