Tempers are expected to fly high when Gaborone City Council convenes an urgent special full council meeting to discuss about P40 million of poverty eradication funds that had been diverted to pay out the outstanding balance of manual workers who have been transferred to be permanent and pensionable.
This comes after the central government ordered GCC to freeze its account in-order to pay about 1600 manual workers who are on go-slow as a way of protest.
Gaborone mayor, Haskins Nkaigwa, confirmed to The Telegraph that his council has been ordered to divert almost P40m funds meant for poverty eradication programs to pay out manual workers that had moved out from manual workers to permanent and pensionable employees.
“I am very embarrassed by the government and the way it conducts itself towards GCC.”
He said as the mayor there is nothing that he can do because there was no budget at all for the transformation, adding that it is unfortunate that councilors are not aware of the move, “and I guess they will be outraged by the directive”.
He added that he will call an urgent full council meeting shortly to discuss the matter.
He revealed that workers were on a “go slow” exercise as a way of protest because they wanted their dues as promised.
He indicated that the council was not refusing to pay its workers as people may suspect.
“The truth of the matter is that the council has no funds and to make matters worse government has cut off our budget by almost half.”
He stated that because of the move, some of the projects are expected to suffer.
“I hope that the government will try and source funds elsewhere.”
City mayor said about 1600 will receive their payments starting this week.
The Organising secretary of Botswana Manual Workers Union, Johnson Motswarakgole, said it is true that most of the industrial workers at GCC have not been paid.
“Only about 80 workers are said to have received their payments sometime this week,” said Motshwarakgole.
He added that one thing that shocks him is the fact that most of the workers that have been transferred to permanent and pensionable status fall outside the pension bracket.
He asked whether it is sensible to make a person Permanent and Pensionable when he or she is almost 60 years.