The Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) – which is tasked with economic diversification of the area covering parliamentary constituencies of Bobirwa, Mmadinare, Selibe Phikwe and Tswapong North – is embroiled in another controversy over its recruitment criteria. SPEDU – a parastatal company wholly-owned by the government – recently advertised new posts after its restructuring exercise and the way the recruitment has been carried out has raised eyebrows among some senior managers at the company. Sources at the company have revealed that since the new posts were advertised, the Chief Executive Officer Dr Mokubung Mokubung has side-lined the Human Resources department and is doing the shortlisting for some of the posts.
HR clashes with EXCO
As a result a wife to one prominent politician, who recently defected to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), is alleged to have been shortlisted for the post of Community Facilitation Executive. The lady, who is a teacher by profession and not fully qualified for the post, is allegedly likely to be offered the post. She will work under the former MP for Goodhope/Mabule James Mathokgwane who has been redeployed to the position of Director of Community facilitation. When he was first recruited he was the Regional Director Operations. Another post that had SPEDU Exco clashing with both the HR Manager and the Board of Directors is that of Internal Audit and Risk Manager. It is alleged that SPEDU Exco wanted to employ a BCL employee (name known to this publication) as Internal Audit and Risk manager though he did not meet the requirements. “There was a fight between Exco and HR managers about hiring him because in the structure he reports directly to the board not CEO but he wanted him hired without the input of the board,” said source.
Sources alleged that he was shortlisted for a second interview with the HR committee and board chairman being part of the panel. This is not the first time that SPEDU attracted controversy over its recruitment drive as last year they employed former UDC MP Mathokgwane under a cloud of controversy. Mathokgwane resigned as an MP - something that shocked many especially within the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) - with allegations rife that he was promised a lucrative job in government. While people were still trying to figure out where he was heading, he emerged at SPEDU as Regional Director Operations. UDC President Duma Boko called the appointment of Mathokgwane as illegal and fraud. “It is a deft piece of trickery played by the most corrupt and unscrupulous President and his hirelings,” said Boko.
Contacted for comment SPEDU CEO Dr Mokubung denied that he was shortlisting candidates for the positions currently vacant. “The HR Manager is the one in charge of recruiting and shortlisting candidates not me,” said Mokubung, who insisted that most of the positions were proposed by the HR department and approved by the board. SPEDU was declared a parastatal company with 100% shareholding by Botswana government and last year concluded its transformation process. Its project initiatives are funded through the Sysmin Re-Employment Account (REA), under the Economic Diversification of the Mining Sector Programme. The European Union (EU) approved a loan and grants which were on-lent to BCL and Tati Nickel companies. Upon repayment, the two mining companies paid into special repository which is now called the REA. The custodianship of these funds, according to Mokubung, lies with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, through Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry and SPEDU.