Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Police officers up in arms over unpaid subsistence allowance

Former tribal police officers who were absorbed into the Botswana Police Services (BPS) from the Ministry of Local Government are becoming increasingly disgruntled by government’s failure to deliver on its promises. The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have expressed unhappiness at government’s continued failure to deliver on its promise to pay them commuted subsistence allowance in lieu of decent accommodation. They have also pointed accusing fingers at their superiors, saying they don’t care about their welfare as they take the issue of unpaid subsistence allowance very lightly.

“When we joined the mainstream police force from local government we were promised that we will be paid commuted subsistence allowance in lieu of decent accommodation. To date that promise has not been delivered. Our superiors seem not to care because they have not taken any action to get clarity from the Minister even though we have raised the issue with them on numerous occasions,” they said.

The disgruntled officers said the promise was first made to them when they were absorbed into the national police force and later by the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology , Johnny Swartz in parliament.

“Swartz made the promise in parliament in December 2013 when he was answering a parliamentary question on behalf of Minister of Defense, Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse. He told parliament that the Ministry was aware of our plight and would attend to the matter as soon as possible,” they said.

At the time, Swartz, who was answering a question from Member of Parliament for Ngami Taolo Habana, confirmed that the promise was made to the concerned officers but said the Ministry was still investigating to establish who qualifies for such payments. Habana had wanted to know whether the Minister was aware of the issue of police officers who have been absorbed into BPS and were not being paid commuted subsistence allowances in lieu of decent accommodation, more specially in rural areas. When asked to comment, BPS Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa promised to investigate the matter

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