13 September 2017

Botswana: Make Unions Account - Molale

Tsonyane — The Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Eric Molale has challenged public officers to hold their workers unions accountable.

Mr Molale said bargaining should be used to address issues of staff welfare rather than demanding to be allowed to engage in party politics. He said government took a deliberate decision not to allow officers to engage in active politics with a view to encourage them to provide the best service to the public regardless of the political party in power.

He said the function of public officers was to implement policies on behalf of government. Mr Molale advised public service union members to ensure their subscriptions were not being abused.

He said there was evidence that some unions were using members' money for purposes other than staff welfare.

"Being a union member gives you a say as to how your money is being used," he said. Mr Molale also encouraged public workers to live within their means and appreciate that resources would always be scarce. He observed that some officers had saddled themselves with so much debt that they hoped a salary hike could give them some respite.

"You have a right to bargain for more but use what you have in hand with prudence," he said. While he stressed that it was acceptable for public officers to bargain with their employer for more and better conditions of service, he also encouraged them to appreciate the fact that most of the services they enjoyed like fuel, water, and health were subsidised.

He shared that income tax was capped at 25 per cent in the country while in neighbour states like South Africa it was 47 per cent.

Mr Molale also urged officers to be thankful for the fact that they were the only ones in the SADC region who were paid recession allowance explaining that this showed how much government cared about their welfare. On other issues, Mr Molale encouraged officers to accede when they were being transferred.

He revealed that overstays usually emanated from the fact that some officers manufactured excuses not to be transferred at the expense of those who were genuinely due for transfer which he observed bred stagnation and disgruntlement across the public sector.

He explained that a transfer was not a punishment but an opportunity to serve in a different work environment and broaden their scope.

Mr Molale also warned accounting officers to transfer officers in good faith rather than to spite them. About overtime pay, Mr Molale stressed that it was paid on the basis of authorization and the need to work overtime to avoid abuse.

He also advised accounting officers to monitor whether or not the overtime work was done.

Mr Molale has furthermore advised public officers to take advantage of SHHA loans to build accommodation units and rent them out to government institutions.

Source : BOPA


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