Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has expressed its outmost displeasure and disappointment at the special parliament proceedings and the Director of Health, Dr Malaki Tshipayagae’s stance on the alleged COVID-19 case. Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Lemogang Kwape reported this morning that Botswana has recorded seven new cases of COVID-19. The cases involve a nurse who was based at Block 8 clinic and yesterday was on duty during the parliament session, screening MPs for temperature.
"Botswana Nurses’ Union (BONU) would like to make it categorically clear that it understand the symbolic importance of parliament, but under the current situation, the special parliament proceedings cannot go on,” the union said earlier today as MPs debated on whether to continue with parliament business or not. The session continued nonetheless after a lengthily debate.
But the nurses’ union was not impressed stating that the, “the Ministry of Health and Wellness, through its Director and Minister, has been preaching on the importance of short meetings (2 hours), few people (less than 10), staying home, 1m distance rule as well as touching faces. “This (sic) measures apply to everyone including the leadership of this country. Shutting down is therefore a symbolic act especially at a time of national crisis”.
BONU encouraged the Director of Health to be consistent with on (sic) applying measures of COVID-19 as the disease knows no boundaries. BONU President, Obonolo Rahube, signed the statement. BONU reminded Botswana that WHO has advised against politicising COVID-19. Rahube called on the government that all members of the cohort go on mandatory quarantine immediately.
The Director of Health and Wellness, Dr. Malaki Tshipiyagae must step down as he is unfit to lead under trying times like this (sic) and failed to protect the parliament including the president of the nation, argued the union president. "Batswana should continue taking necessary precautions such as staying home, minimising non essential travelling to COVID-19 affected countries, gathering, regular hand washing and maintaining social distancing," pointed out Rahube. He added that the government must provide nurses and healthcare workers with proper personal protection equipment (PPEs), transport and quarantine all exposed healthcare workers.
Disgraced Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) President Masego Mogwera' s rival faction has been confirmed as new office bearers of the union. The faction led by Olefile Monakwe has been tussling with Mogwera's faction over the control of the union since 2018, a conflict punctuated by litigations. Monakwe has now been confirmed by Besina Buraga, the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations, as President of the union.
According to a letter dated April 2, 2020, Buraga confirmed change of office bearers of BOPEU and registered the new leadership in accordance with Trade Unions and Employers Organisations Act (TUEOA). The new leaders of the union are Monakwe as President, Donald Mokgweetsi 1st Vice-President, General Secretary Kaboyaone Sedimo, Ketlhapileng Karabo is Vice Secretary while Panama Dipatane is Treasurer General.
In a recent judgment High Court Judge Christopher Gabanagae dismissed an urgent application launched by Mogwera seeking to interdict her dismissal from the union. She filed the application on the 5 December 2019 on urgency basis. Mogwera wanted that Monakwe and or BOPEU be barred or interdicted from effectuating or implementing any or all steps aimed at implementing the decisions taken at the Special General Congress of BOPEU which took place on December 1st 2019.
She also pleaded with the court that the decision taken at the purported Special General Congress which took place from November 30th to December 1st 2019 to dismiss her from membership of BOPEU be set aside and declared null and void and of no force. She further sought that Registrar of Trade Unions be restrained from changing the records of the union (BOPEU) based on the decision taken at the Special General Congress. The defendants in the case argued that the relief sought by Mogwera is fatally defective.
In his judgement, Justice Gabanagae said the Applicant failed to furnish reasons why it took about five days to launch the application. He indicated that Mogwera did not explain why she could not bring the application earlier. "It is not for the court to guess the reasons. Reasons have to be fully set out in her founding affidavit. In fairness there is nothing to interdict. She is well within rights to challenge the decision of the Special General Congress in a normal course," stated Justice Gabanagae. Mogwera on May 9th 2019 lodged an application seeking the decision to suspend her as president be declared unlawful and set aside and that the meeting of April 27th 2019 at Regent Hotel chaired by Monakwe be declared null and void. The union would later at the end of the year terminate her membership during the Special General Congress in Palapye.
FNBB has announced a three months cash-flow relief intervention for both retail and commercial customers impacted by COVID-19. The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Bogatsu said customers with a good track record will be eligible for the relief intervention.
“SME businesses with an annual turnover up to P10 million and an initial loan amount not exceeding P5 million will benefit from our installment relief programme,” said Bogatsu. Bogatsu said installment relief for retail customers have been put in place for those on home loan, personal loan and WesBank loans products while SME customers’ relief will be on commercial property finance, vehicle and asset finance and term loans.
In addition, FNBB has highlighted that between the months of May and June, FNB App payments, mobile payments and Cash@Till fees will be offered at a 25 percent discount on the current fee. “The bank hopes that these measures will help ease customers’ financial constraints until things stabilise,” said Bogatsu. The bank has also removed rate payments on some of its digital banking channels.