Botswana Football Association (BFA) has turned into a war zone.
For whatever reason, the local football mother body seems unable to get the game off the boardrooms and courtrooms and back to the field again.
Last Monday, the BFA was plunged into another crisis as its vehicles were attached by the Sheriffs after failing to honour a labour court settlement made in lieu of four of its employees.
The four staff members had been sent to stay home by BFA Secretary General, Goabaone Taylor at the height of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as ‘there was no work for them.’
The four had allegedly been promised their full salaries while they are at home, only for the association not to fulfil the promise as it cut their salaries. The four staff members, Nelly Motau, Thandie Akambakamba, Grace Moatshe and Elsa Rhyn then dragged the association before the labour office for arbitration and recourse.
On the 25th May the four aggrieved employees referred to the Commissioner of Labour in terms of Trade Dispute Act. Subsequently there was a mediation hearing on the 14th July 2021 and together with the BFA they agreed to resolve the dispute. BFA agreed to pay the four employees a cumulative sum of P50 298.00 as a balance of the two months half pay which they had received for the months of July, August 2021.
Despite the settlement agreement, the association seemingly reneged and the four approached the labour offices again.
“The end result of the mediation was a settlement agreement, of which the parties had agreed that the applicants will continue staying at home and not report for duty and they will be paid monthly beginning the month of July 2021. However, there was a default of payment by the respondent (BFA), as he paid the applicants half salaries both in July and August 2021 salaries; thus leading to referral of this dispute for enforcement of settlement agreement” the matter elaborated by commissioner of labour office.
BFA property being a white fortuner registration number B942 BOO and white Hilux registration number 797 BHL single cab were taken on Thursday by deputy sheriff Ramodisa. The BFA is given fourteen days to settle the debt or the attached property will be sold in auction to pay the debt or money owed to the four employees.
According to sources the BFA, which was represented by BFA legal and compliance Officer Pako Moakofhi in the matter, pled with the deputy sheriff not to take the said vehicles but were not successful as it was seen as an attempt to save face.
With tensions simmering, the jury is now out as to whether the BFA CEO will recall the laid off staff back to office to do normal work when the BFA football season starts. Should the four laid off staff members not be recalled, another labour battle will be expected.
The current troubles with the labour court is expected to make Taylor’s restructuring process at the BFA a little more complicated than it could have been. Upon arrival at Lekidi, the new CEO embarked on restructuring exercise which is likely to end up affecting staff and leading to retrenchments.
The CEO who was head hunted by BFA is faced with a huge task of steering the operations of the ailing BFA in the right direction. Taylor’s reception at the troubled BFA was not approved by many as her appointment was questioned because he was not among the shortlisted people who went for the interview. It is said she was favoured by some senior members in the BFA national executive committee. The unprocedural cutting of staff salaries is one of the big blunders she made since her arrival and the court had to reverse her decision.