Monday, September 28, 2020

Unfair labour practice hinted at MoE

Lentswe Motshoganetsi, the Public Relations Officer of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, has declined to say whether or not their investigations into the case in which 23 employees of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development , Department of Student Placement and Welfare, were still ongoing.

The education Officers, who were two months ago interdicted on reports that they were being investigated for possible malpractices in the awarding of scholarships, were then reinstated and transferred to different departments within the same Ministry.

“We cannot comment on such matters in accordance with the law that governs us,” he said.
His comment follows after some of the affected employees complained that they had been treated unfairly in this case as they were never told their status after their reinstatement.

“We had expected to be told about the investigations and whether or not they were still continuing so that we could work effectively without such a matter hanging over our heads. Now we have not been told this so we do not know our status even as we work, which we think is very unfair,” said one of the affected employees, who declined to be named .

This, he said, applies to most of his colleagues, some of whom he said are even thinking about asking to be transferred to different government departments.

“There is simply no job security in this department because the staff, on almost a yearly basis, is being transferred to different departments after being interdicted on similar claims of fraud but which are later lifted.”

Another staff member, who also declined to give his name, said that more disturbing is the fact that their bosses seem not to see the importance of informing them about the findings of the fraud investigations, which Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi has talked about in Parliament telling the House that they were being investigated for malpractices .

“Now, Parliament is not sitting; we had expected her to inform the nation that she had reinstated us, at least, and not to just keep quiet as she has done,” he said.

A Gaborone lawyer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that if at all this is true that some employees were interdicted and then had their interdiction lifted, they need to have been told about this officially, adding that if that was not done then it would be unfair labour practice, which is not allowed in this country.

The Public Relations Officer of the MOE, Nomsa Zuze, confirmed that the officers had been reinstated and transferred but referred all questions concerning the fairness of the exercise to the Deputy Attorney General, Abraham Keetshabe, who also said that he could not comment on the issue as it is still being handled by the DCEC.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.