The Chairperson of the Botswana Social Workers Association, Kgomotso Jongman, has dismissed reports that President Ian Khama is usurping the roles and mandate of social workers when he donates blankets and radio sets to the disadvantaged members of the society and elderly people.
In an interview, Jongman revealed that their mandate goes beyond donating blankets and radio sets. He added that Khama’s donations are ‘a charity thing.’
“Our roles go beyond that. We deal with issues of therapy, community mobilisation, and an enabling environment. But when you talk of President’s initiatives, they are charity orientated and anybody can do it,” said Jongman.
While he admitted that he is aware of general complaints from members of the public that the President was usurping the roles of social workers, Jongman dismissed government social workers who claim that President Khama encroaches onto their mandate saying “those are social workers who are lazy to execute their mandate”.
“What is being done by the President is charitable work which can be done by everyone who feels he can do it,” he said.
Sunday Standard has learnt that a considerable number of government social workers are crying foul that President Khama and the Office of the President had usurped their mandate as they believe that the President and his office are encroaching on their mandate as they are the ones who should identify beneficiaries who deserve donations as they believe that it is their mandate to do that.
At the time of going to press, presidential spokesperson, Masego Ramakgati, referred further inquiries to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Recently, at the just ended Public Accounts Committee hearing, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Khumo Matlhare, had a tough time when a member of PAC and Member of Parliament for Kanye, Kentse Rammidi, put it to him that some social workers were complaining that President Khama was usurping their roles or mandate.
In fact Matlhare avoided the question asked by Rammidi. In an interview on the sideline of the same session, Rammidi conceded that he received an unsatisfactory response from Matlhare.
“The Permanent Secretary did not answer the question as I had asked it. He avoided it,” said Rammidi.
Another PAC member and MP for Tati East, Samson Moyo Guma, wondered why eradication project, which government social workers believe they should be in charge of, is driven from the top and not from the bottom. Moyo said as Members of Parliament and councillors, they were merely watching from the side-lines and have no idea what is happening.