Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has expressed disappointment on what it views as contempt of court by parliament in its deliberation on the amendments of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA).
Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu brought the Bill before Parliament in the previous sitting. The Bill has been marred by controversy as BOFEPUSU argued that they have not been consulted resulting in the opposition MPs calling for the deferment of the Bill to allow the minister to consult.
When the debate on the Bill started, the Speaker of Parliament revealed that her office and that of the Parliamentary Counsel have not received any communication that suggests that the TDA could not be discussed because it is subjected to litigation.
President of BOFEPUSU, Johannes Tshukudu said the case would be heard before court on 13th of September this year.
“This could have an impact on the outcome of the decision of the court. We do not know how the MPs would feel if the court could rule against them and nullify the Act they have just wasted their energy on. We would demonstrate before court that what Parliament did was wrong. This also boils down to the issue of separation of powers. This could clearly mean that Parliament is failing to abide by the laws that it makes but expect other citizens to obey. It also undermines the role played by our judiciary in this country,” Tshukudu stated.
Despite several attempts by opposition MPs to have discussions on the Bill suspended, the speaker has maintained ignorance of any pending case. Batshu has also on the other hand maintained that he has consulted relevant stakeholders through the Labour Advisory Board.
BOFEPUSU however rubbished claims that they have been consulted. The federation argued that they were told late about the consultative meeting and when they requested for a postponement of the meeting they were ignored and the meeting proceeded without BOFEPUSU.