Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

24 July 2009

Botswana Post Keen to Forge Ahead - Sethebe

Palapye — Botswana Postal Services human resources manager, Cortney Sethebe says the postal service is faced with challenges ranging from cost containment, increasing competition, unmet shareholder expectations, losses as well as inadequate funding.

Speaking during the Botswana Postal Services Workers Union's 41st annual congress over the President's Day holidays, Sethebe said having a mountain of challenges to climb workers should set themselves goals higher than they normally would and constantly look beyond the congress and think of new ways to get there.

"In today's business environment it is vital for survival that the relationship between business growth, profitability and operating costs are strictly maintained. Survival demands that we provide our shareholders with a reasonable return on investment."

The human resources manager added that it is imperative that a positive approach be taken by all stakeholders in their determination to transform Botswana Post into a viable, customer led and profitable organisation.

He noted that the company has to embrace how its environment has changed in order to reinvent itself.

"In order for this to take place we must commit ourselves to high service targets and to enhance Botswana Post brand. We should passionately seek to initiate, implement and achieve fundamental and positive change in our relationships if the commitments are to be realised."

Sethebe highlighted that employees are an invaluable resource and the company should tap into their capabilities to bestow the company's competitive advantage. Despite the challenges that the company is facing Sethebe said they are taking incremental steps to eliminate some of the adversity.

The recently acquired fleet, ongoing preliminary work to acquire staff uniform, and the ground breaking ceremony of the Sort Centre, which is a step towards the modernisation of the mailing system, are some of the steps already taken.

Sethebe acknowledged that management is aware of the fatigue created by the lack of clarity on the restructuring issue and that a great amount of effort is in place to find answers.

He added that management has already raised alarm on some ills such as fraud, misappropriation and misuse of company resources by some employees.

"I urge you to ensure that there is sufficient collaborative effort for zero tolerance of such misconduct. Not only does it destroy the character of the perpetrators but it also places a high risk on the company reputation."

Meanwhile, union chairperson, Dumisani Mashumba said the relationship between the union and Botswana Post management is not conducive but indicated that both parties have agreed to find ways of building a more harmonious and sound relationship.

The congress was held under the theme: "Building harmonious relationship towards a better Botswana Post".

He said they have been faced with so many challenges, which have forced them to shelve various projects. "Most of the time we were at loggerheads with management which led us to seek intervention from various legal entities like Labour Department, Industrial Court as well as the Parliamentary Advisory Committee."

Mashumba also expressed concern that union branches are not functioning as expected and called on them to up their performance.

"We are having so many cases either by negligence or theft by employees which lead to the union officials spending more time attending to them and wasting union funds in the process. I appeal to you to refrain from such practices."

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