A two-man team of legislators that has met President Ian Khama to plead for the reinstatement of doctors and nurses has revealed that the Government had decided not to re-employ at least 70 nurses and about 7 medical doctors.
Ruling party legislators, Pono Moathodi of Tonota South and Kweneng East’s Moeng Pheto, made a plea to President Khama to reinstate the fired health workers after they were dismissed from the public service in the aftermath of the public sector strike.
The two MPs disclosed this week at a press conference held at parliamentary buildings that about 250 nurses who were sacked for violating a court order during the strike had already received letters of re-employment from the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM).
The two men said that 100 more nurses previously fired during the strike, are in the process of receiving their employment letters.
The employees will be hired as new entrants in the public service and will not be returning to their previous posts. They will instead be posted afresh and mostly in rural areas.
The two said that they were prompted to approach Khama following concerns that the sacking of nurses and doctors had created a huge demand for medical services countrywide.
Moathodi told journalists that he was elated to learn that President Khama had agreed to their overture for the reinstatement of nurses aged 50 years and above to be engaged by government on a contract basis.
“We are so grateful to President Khama because on this proposal he contacted DPSM in our presence to find out if engaging them on contract basis would be possible,” said Moathodi.
Moathodi said that they were informed that nurses not eligible for reinstatement were those considered to be ringleaders and had disciplinary issues to sort out first.
Moathodi said he is thankful to President Khama for pardoning the workers, adding that in future workers should show some accountability by acting responsibly.
“They were misled by the Unions. If, in future, the same continues the workers will be on their own,” cautioned Moathodi.
The Tonota South MP also expressed concern that a Swazi national attending a Botswana union activity in Nata had spoken strongly against President Khama’s government.
“How can he come to our country and attack us, that is not right; if anything, our people are the ones who should be disrespecting our President, it’s not right…,” said Moathodi. He also urged Union officials not to interfere with the political affairs of Swaziland.
For his part, Pheto said that the re-employment of the nurses and doctors back into the public service is an act of compassion and an indication that government is not vindictive.
He said that aside from the fact that there was shortage of nursing services, the job loss following the strike had been a devastating blow to many. He said the loss had affected house hold earnings and brought instability in many families.
Pheto said that there were not able to convince government on reinstatement of non health workers.
“In some areas, services have been outsourced and some posts have been filled,” said Pheto, responding to a question on why others had not been reinstated.