Umbrella for Democratic Change(UDC) Vice President, and Leader of Opposition Dumelang Saleshando says they have a problem with how the current Ipelegeng social welfare program is being carried out.
The UDC brought their alternative view on the program and other issues relating to governance in the country before media practitioners on Monday.
The UDC parliamentary caucus is developing a position paper on transitioning from Ipelegeng to a Labour-Intensive Public Works Program which will be presented in the next parliament session as a motion.
Giving the presentation, Saleshando said there is no skills acquisition or skills imparted on those who work for the Ipelegeng program yet about 600 million Pula is used annually to fund it.
He noted that there is nothing to show for it in a form of public assets that are being built out of the program.
“Ipelegeng workers must be able to develop community assets such as paved roads, small scale dams and storm water drainage systems. The program must be able to impart artisan skills.” Said Saleshando.
He also added that every social welfare program must have a clear plan on how those that are on it will be able to graduate from it and come out of it with something that will help the participants to survive in the field of work either as employees or employers.
“There must be a clear set target on how long one must be in the program in order to acquire a certain type of skill and not repeatedly be on the program as we currently see happening. We want it to be an on the job training for social welfare because these are economically active people and it must be divided into regions because it can’t be a one size fits all program.” He lamented.
Saleshando also noted that the minimum living wage for the program is way too low.
He said during their 2019 election campaign they were proposing a 3000 Pula living wage but added that a living wage cannot not be stagnant so they will continuously engage with economists as they are developing this paper to establish how much a fair living wage in Botswana could be.
He also noted that what is important is to be able to define what a living wage must be able to do for one.
“The program was created with the sole purpose to help those that are in abject poverty but there is no difference when you compare a person living in poverty and a person that works for Ipelegeng,” he stated.
Saleshando says they need to apply their minds on Ipelegeng when it comes to the 4th industrial revolution. He believes that the program must also be able to participate in it.