The Minister of Defence,Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi, says government’s decision to rationalise salaries for members of the disciplined forces now commonly as ‘Ntlole’, was only taken this year and as such government will not consider any back pays dating from 2010 as it is anticipated. Kgathi said the report on new salary scales for members of the disciplined forces was adopted in 2019 to address the discrepancies in pay structures of the Botswana Defence Force, Botswana Police and Prison Services respectively. He was responding to questions in Parliament by Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa who probed Kgathi if he is aware that the report dates back to 2010 and was never implemented due to the then economic recession.
Outspoken Nkaigwa was also curious to know if the government is willing to pay members of the disciplined forces backpays in recognition of the fact the report should have long been implemented in 2010. Kgathi said there was never an agreed report on new salary scales for disciplined forces in 2010.
“It will be erroneous to implement a report that never existed and consequently the aspect of backdating does not arise on salary adjustments of disciplined forces staff. The decision to rationalize salaries for disciplined forces was only taken this year, so the issue of Ntlole back pays does not arise at all,” he emphasised. He noted that due to the rationalization of salary structures, the amendment of the Prisons Act conferred all administrative authority, the accountability for the Prisons Department on the Commissioner. Kgathi the new development repeals the old Act, where he reported to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security.
For that reason the position of the Commissioner has been regraded from F2 to F1 salary scale while the Deputy Commissioners were regraded from E2 to salary scale. “At Botswana Defence Force ( BDF) the rationalisation led to the rank of Major moving from D2 to D1 with Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel moving to E2 and E1 respectively. This had a resultant effect of moving Lieutenant Colonel by one grade up and a pull effect on all ranks below Lieutenant Colonel by two grades up,” he said.
At Botswana Police Service, rationalization was realised by closing the gap between the Station Commander (D1) and Officer Commanding (D1) and moving the Commissioner from F1 to F0 scale, this had pull up effect to all ranks below the two. “It should be noted that the net effect of the rationalisation exercise was to move the entry levels of members of the disciplined forces (i.e. privates, warders and constables) from B3 to B1 ( P 3 874 to P 5 593 per month),” Kgathi highlighted.
The massive salary adjustments for the disciplined forces public servants have been received with a lot of mixed emotions from some of public servants and politicians from other aisle. Several political activists have submitted the arguments that the new salary scales have been implemented out proper planning as well as not being catered for the 2019/20 financial budget.
Nkaigwa said he is surprised why the implementation of the report was not backdated since the economy has long improved even before 2019. He argues that government did the adjustments only as way of enticing the public servants prior to the general elections.
Prior to ntlole, the government earlier made 10% hike for the salary scales of A and B whereas the public servants who seat on the salary scales of C and D respectively had a 6% salary hike.