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Court dismisses BOPEU’s application

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Members of Botswana Public Employee Union (BOPEU) suffered a big blow last week Friday when Judge Isaac Bahuma of the Industrial Court dismissed their case in which they were challenging Ministry of Agriculture over the settlement agreement reached in 2012.

Delivering his judgement, Judge Bahuma said the application was not properly brought before court because it did not have a referral certificate. “The only way they can approach this court directly is by way of urgency, which is why the Registrar probably thought they had. The applicants have confirmed that the application is not urgent,” said Judge Bahuma.

During the argument, the attorney representing the applicants, Uyapo Ndadi confirmed to the court that their application was not urgent and it was never brought to court as such. A question then arose during the proceedings whether court has jurisdiction to hear the matter since it was not brought to court on urgency and didn’t have a referral certificate.

According to Judge Bahuma, it does not matter that there was a settlement agreement signed by the parties, it is not a court order and it is not enforceable in a court of law. “If the other party does not meet their side of the bargain the applicants ought to approach the mediator who will, if necessary, prepare necessary documentation for proper referral of the matter to this court.

This was not done and for that reason this application must fall,” said Judge Bahuma. Reacting to the judgement, Uyapo Ndadi said, “I think his lordship erred in the law. The parties had settled this matter before the Labour Officer with the government making undertakings. Consequently, a referral certificate would not have been necessary as there was an agreement. Labour Officers refer matters to court when the dispute is unresolved. At any rate the government suffered no prejudice by the matter being heard without a referral certificate and the Attorney General did not take the issue of referral as well.”

He also said the court also erred in holding that a settlement agreement is not enforceable in a court of law. “That is with respect, wrong, as it seems the court took the view that a settlement agreement is akin to a recommendation. Agreements are enforceable in court provided they are lawful and not contrary to morality. It does not matter before whom they were made,” explained Ndadi.

He said they will not appeal “Because the government has since paid our clients their dues so the dispute is settled.” In 2005 a directive was issued by the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) directing the implementation of scheme of service for employees under administration. T

he scheme of service was in terms of Directive No. 13 of 2005, supposed to have been fully implemented and completed by 1st April 2006. The Ministry agreed to pay the applicants salary differences between the time applicants were promoted to B3 in 2010 and 1st of April 2006, but it did not.

A dispute arose regarding the implementation and was referred to the Commissioner for mediation in terms of section 7(1) of the Trade Dispute Act and an agreement was reached. The whole exercise was to be completed by 30th September 2012.

Neo Sharp represented the state.

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Boko has failed his constituency – Mokgethi

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THROWING SALVO: Anna Mokgethi vows to turn around the fortunes of Gaborone Bonnington North

Botswana Democratic Party Parliamentary hopeful for Gaborone Bonnington North Annah Mokgethi says area Member of Parliament failed to utilise the P10million constituency Development Fund to develop the constituency.

Every year government allocates P10 million to each of the 57 constituencies for developments under the ministry of local government and rural development and councils coordinate the projects. Mokgethi told the media in Gaborone on Tuesday that UDC president who is also area MP, Duma Boko was supposed to have pushed for projects to be done in the constituency.“As we speak there is nothing but the constituency has been having an MP and councillors in the past five years. “Crime is high in the area because there are no streetlights in most of our roads. Our people are attacked under the cover of darkness. Our roads are still dusty but you take our neighbouring constituencies they have paved the roads using these funds.

“We are behind because our MP has neglected the constituency ever since he was voted into office. There is nothing that he can show as a development he advocated for under the fund,” she said.
Mokgethi, a lawyer by profession, will be launched this coming Sunday by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Since its inception in 2017 the fund has been marred by controversy as MPs argued that they are not being taken on board in the projects.Vice President Slumber Tsogwane who at the time was local government minister, said it was wrong for council secretaries to snub MPs when councils consult residents on developments to do with the fund.

Mokgethi told the media that representation is about service. She said she is willing to represent the people of Bonnington North. “The people of this constituency are yearning for representation. They need a representative who will have enough time on his/her hands to attend to their needs and interests. Someone who will have an ear inclined to their needs,” she stated.

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BEAUTY WITH STAINS

Keletso Thobega

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BEAUTIFUL BETRAYAL: Many did not believe Mhotsha could commit such a heinous crime

Broadhurst Magistrate Court came to a near standstill this past Friday when Lebogang Mhotsha appeared for mention on a conspiracy to robbery case.

Sporting a spiral braided hairstyle, the 30-year-old, who looked exhausted and agitated, turned heads with her pretty face with many in the crowd peering at her and commenting on how unfortunate it was for such a beautiful young woman to be implicated in a crime of such magnitude, where blood had been spilled.

There was a heavy presence of police officers, soldiers, DIS and members from Interpol in the court that was so packed that one had to take gulps of breath to avoid suffocating. All eyes were on Mhotsi, who unflinchingly stared ahead as the brief court proceedings got underway. Details presented before court are that Mhotsha of Mogoditshane is implicated in a conspiracy to robbery following the death of three Batswana men in South Africa on the 26 July 2019.

It is said that the victims were robbed of P350, 000, ten thousand US dollars and a Samsung J72 cell phone. The deceased men were part of a team of seven Batswana headed to Durban to purchase vehicles. They were attacked along the Swartruggens road in the North West area between Mafikeng and Rustenburg by six men who robbed them at gunpoint and made off with the money. The prosecutor in the case asked the court to give them an opportunity to complete their investigations, adding that they also want to engage Interpol to assist them.

Magistrate Tshepo Thedi remanded the accused in jail pending further investigation. Mhotsha will appear in court again on 22 August 2019 together with two other accused. Botswana and South African police jointly launched investigations into the matter to establish the circumstances that led to the incident. So far, preliminary investigations have revealed that the robbery was an act of conspiracy between the suspect, Mhotsha as well as local and South African associates.

The case gets more interesting as more accused come out of hiding. This past weekend a confession was extracted from two other suspects, Poloko Seduke and Kefilwe Ramoitoi both aged 38. The duo subsequently appeared before court on Monday facing the same charge of conspiracy to robbery. Although investigations are still ongoing to piece together the puzzles in this case, it is widely believed that the three accused are part of a bigger crime syndicate operating between Botswana and South Africa that targets Batswana who travel to Durban to buy cars.

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