MAUN – The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama has vowed to ‘get rid of’ non-performing staff within his ministry.
The minister accused some employees of performing their duties the old fashioned way even during times when the civil service has introduced advanced techniques to help assist in addressing challenges better and more efficiently.
Officiating at Botswana Wildlife Training Institute (BWTI) graduation in Maun on Monday, said he always finds it very difficult to work with people who are not team players. The result is that he never finds any fault in doing away with such people. In the recent past, he said he has “removed” non-performers and players adding that he is not even apologetic about it.
“I will never allow laziness from all of you working under my ministry because I am not in a position to micro manage you. I expect all of you to apply problem solving skills and understand the nature of the threat or issue at hand,” said Tshekedi.
He added that “And so if you are not a team player I will never hesitate but will gladly remove you or you remove yourself before I do. This is neither secret nor threat. It’s in fact the sad reality which you should be mindful of”, said the minister.
Tshekedi pointed out that he has throughout his tenure as minister responsible for wildlife came across experiences whereby people report to work either with low morale or disruptive behavior and thus standing on the way of those who would have wanted to work competently and be of benefit to the country.
However he said he is aware of the challenges faced by anti poaching personnel particularly as they work under restricted conditions while their core business it to be on guard 24 hours to keep an eye on wildlife, bearing in mind that it is threatened day and night.
To remedy the situation, he said he has intentions to amend the Wildlife Act so as to make provision for Anti Poaching staff to be deployed 24 hours and with the necessary equipment to meet challenges associated with poaching.
He said everything will be communicated once the draft is ready so as to allow informed decision making amongst staff. He said such challenges cannot be addressed under the current conditions of service as stipulated in the General Orders and Public Service Act. He assured his staff that should things go according to plan, their conditions of service will match those of their colleagues at Botswana Defence Force, Department of Intelligence Service as well as Botswana Police Service since they are all involved in anti poaching.
The other challenge according to the minister is the escalating bill of compensating farmers for damage caused by problem animals such as elephants. He revealed that over the years they have never been able to pay farmers in full and that he is convinced that they will never win on this one.
“I still believe we need a Wildlife Human Conflict reduction strategy that is driven by landboards, DWNP, community leaders and so forth. We need a permanent solution because this is long overdue”. He advised graduating students to work harmoniously once they go on field as they will be entrusted with the management of natural resources, the environment and nothing else. Also, he said he has been made aware of some staff who refuse to be deployed at some areas, saying they risk job losses in an already difficult environment, considering that there are so many equally competent graduates looking for jobs.