The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) intends to reveal salaries and assets of union leaders and members of affiliate central committees, deputy General Secretary, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, has said.
The federation’s leadership will meet on the 15th to the 17th of August to discuss modalities under which its leaders will disclose their salaries and assets.
“The movement belongs to the workers and we think now its proper and relevant for leaders to declare their salaries, assets and belongings,” confirmed Motshegwa in a telephone interview with The Telegraph.
“We expect every leader and central committee member to disclose and even demonstrate compliance with the law.”
He said this would include, among others, filing of tax returns.
Motshegwa added that the disclosure is in the interest of promoting transparency in union affairs, saying that it will, in part, allay fears that Union leaders are looting Union coffers.
“It is intended to eliminate any doubt that has been propelled by the enemies of the workers ….the very people who themselves cannot disclose their assets,” Motshegwa said.
He added that the intention is to demonstrate that Unionists have nothing to hide.
Motshegwa says that after revealing their salaries and assets, Union leaders expect politicians, including President Ian Khama and his cabinet, to also make public their salaries and assets.
“After this disclosure, we will be waiting for them to also disclose,” he said.
At a recent Kgotla meeting, President Ian Khama accused Union officials of mismanaging members funds.
The decision to disclose has been welcomed by government. The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, and Labour and Home Affairs Minister, whose ministry regulates Unions, have both welcomed the federation’s intention to disclose salaries.
“It will be a good development and we wait and see if it will happen and whether it will serve some purpose,” said Masisi. “They ought to be commended if it does happen.”
Minister Batshu, however, has some reservations about the Union’s preparations to disclose their salaries and instead states that there is no link between disclosing salaries and assets and the fact that some Unions continue to embezzle members’ funds.
He said his office is inundated with numerous complaints by members who query abuse of Union funds and property.
Minister Batshu is adamant that disclosing salaries and assets by leaders will not solve the many cases of embezzlement and mismanagement of members’ funds by Union officials.
“I have lots of complaints that people are abusing Union funds and property,” said Batshu.