The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu has vowed to investigate an alleged racist South African national (names withheld) who currently holds the position of Senior Manager at Unitrans Francistown office.
The Midweek Sun has first-hand information from the meeting in which the minister addressed the fired extra heavy duty drivers on Monday at the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs in Francistown.Batshu’s meeting with the concerned 17 drivers comes just two weeks after President Ian Khama learnt of alleged rot at Unitrans during a kgotla meeting he addressed at Toteng village.
The minister, in the company of other senior government officials from his ministry, revealed to the concerned drivers that he was given a direct order by Khama to investigate the rot at Unitrans and report back to him with a full report. “Tautona a re la re ke robetse ka ditlhako e bile ga ke bereke (The President says you have reported me to him)”. He explained to them that employers and employees must have a conducive working relationship which will eventually cement trust between the two parties but condemned employers who have the habit to fire workers for petty issues. The minister informed the drivers that since most of their cases were before the industrial courts and labour offices, he had no powers to intervene but will act on each individual case once the processes are complete.
“This very afternoon, when I addressed 60 Unitrans staff the name of the South African kept on cropping up for very wrong reasons and I am even surprised for the same name to be coming up once again this evening. I have developed a very keen interest to investigate this manager in question with the aim of finding out when his permits are expiring and the possibility of him being replaced with a local since the job is not a scarce skill, although if I find him blameless, he will continue with his job”.
Shanganani Zibani a former driver and shop steward at Unitrans did not hide his disappointment before the minister. He said it was very painful to be ill-treated by a foreigner in your own country, something which he said the government was failing to address. Dismissing the current arrangement at Unitrans, he pointed out that the post of the alleged racist South African national is not a scarce skill job.
“There are many Batswana overqualified to do the job and I wonder why this man must be allowed to increase poverty in the country by firing drivers without any concrete reasons. I was fired for going through an amber robot although I could have caused fatalities had I applied some breaks. That driver over there was fired simply because his truck was hijacked in South Africa at gun point and one could wonder what they expected him to have done,” he said.
He informed the minister on behalf of other drivers that the reasons they are fired is that the company wants to save money by hiring new drivers of relatively low salaries as compared to old drivers who have since risen through the various company salary scales.