Councillors shun BALA funeral scheme

Dimakatso Tshekedi
Tuesday, 02 June 2015
Councillors shun BALA funeral scheme

Francistown Councillors have vowed that they will never join the resuscitated funeral scheme of Botswana Local Authorities Association (BALA). The association of councils signed the memorandum for the funeral scheme, which also provides members access to loans at National Development Bank (NDB). The scheme is an effort to improve the living standards and welfare of councillors, said BALA Chairperson of welfare Committee Botho Ntirang. Speaking during a Francistown full council meeting this week, the Sowa councillor said that to cater for councillors’ welfare Bala came up with a task force, which initiated the funeral scheme, which later collapsed.

The collapsed funeral cover was called Mmasepala wealth plan, forged between Peo Boswa Insurance Brokers, a signatory of Metropolitan life Botswana, to enable serving and former councillors to have a proper funeral and insurance covers. The scheme, which was cancelled in 2013, had a subscription fee of P200, P170 of which was investment cover while P23 was for the funeral cover. Ntirang told Councillors that they have resuscitated the scheme and appealed to them to join. He said members will pay P23 subscription which guarantees a funeral cover of P20 000 for the member, spouse and nuclear family. A top up amount would guarantee in-laws and extended family funeral cover of P5000, he said. Ntirang said the scheme also offers special loans both to councillors and council workers provided they are routed through BALA.

The scheme offers loans ranging from Bonno loan (home ownership); agricultural loan to buy farming implements to Nthuta loan, which caters for Councillor’s education. However, Councillors expressed outright misgivings about the scheme. Councillor for central ward Biki Mbulawa said he will never join the scheme irrespective of the form it resurfaces in because once bitten twice shy. “As a victim of Mmasepala I will never join this scheme. I was never paid my full amount despite my contributions that lasted for 11 months,” lamented Mbulawa. Ben Mpotokwane councillor for Donga said it was such a disgrace that despite the FCC having a welfare committee, they only got to know of such news from an outsider. He said the FCC welfare committee should wake up and update councillors well in time about their welfare issues. “The scheme is okay but it came at a late time.

All councillors are committed except for two or three. 90 percent of councillors have already committed their salaries to other needs this scheme will only benefit those who will be coming in the next general election,” charged nominated councillor Peter Ngoma. Councillor for Central ward Ephraime Maiketso lamented that he was one of the contributors for the first scheme which failed to meet their needs because of BALA’s incompetence.  “Last year BALA held a meeting in Adonsonia, as the host we expected most dignitaries to be from our council and that was never so. BALA is totally failing to take care of the welfare of councillors,” charged Maiketso. In response Ntirang urged members to join the resuscitated scheme.

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