• Close to 336 senior managers to retire soon
• Government loses over P9 million to ghost employees
• Mbaakanyi resigns as PSBC chairman
• DIS officers to be included in revised Public Service Act
Failure to develop a pool of managerial skills among her employees is coming back to haunt government as most senior public servants on managerial level are about to retire. This was revealed by the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) Ruth Maphorisa at a press briefing in Gaborone on Tuesday. She said most senior officers in top management will soon retire and government will face a challenge in replacing them. “Most of them are within the mandatory retirement age of 60 and this is across all government ministries and mostly in the E2 scale and above,” she said.
Maphorisa said that currently they are focusing on leadership development and talent management in order to fill the gap that will be created when the current crop of managers retire. The head of Public Service revealed that around 336 officers on E2 scale and above will retire but could not specify the date.
In 2010 government enacted the Public Service Act and since then there have been calls from different sectors for it to be reviewed to eliminate contradictions with other already existing pieces of legislature. Maphorisa said cabinet in 2012 gave a nod for the act to be amended. “The objects being to align the Public Service Act to the provisions of the constitution and harmonise it with other national labour laws such as the Employment Act, Trade Disputes Act and Trade Unions and Employers Organisation Act,” she said.
Recently there has been confusion regarding security agents at Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) who are currently not under DPSM like other government employees, and Maphorisa said that as part of reviewing the public service act, they will, “address inconsistencies within the act especially the exclusion of the Directorate of Intelligence Services, punishments for misconducts and others.” After the enactment of Public Service Act industrial class workers were converted to permanent and pensionable and the conversion faced serious challenges. To address the challenges, Maphorisa said they are going to provide transitional savings for issues affecting conversion of industrial employees to pensionable terms and contract employment of senior management.
The implementation of the Public Service Act also caused confusion in the teaching cadre with teachers complaining that it is not aligned with the nature of their work. To address the problem, Maphorisa said that as part the review, the proposed amendment act will address gaps in the act created by the repeal of other employing authorities’ acts like the Teaching Service Act. She said that the Draft Public Service Bill is now at an advanced stage and they have already been submitted ministries’ comments to the Attorney General and hope it will be presented to parliament in the July seating.
Relationship between government and public sector unions especially Botswana Federation of Public sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has always been a rocky one with the two always fighting in the courts of law. Recently BOFEPUSU won a court case against government in which they registered their disdain over President Ian Khama disregard for the bargaining council by announcing a 4% increment outside the structures of the the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). Maphorisa who took over from Carter Morupisi at DPSM said it is their intention to facilitate the bargaining council to fully discharge its mandate.“Negotiations for the year 2015/16 salaries have essentially kick-started, with the recent adoption of rules of engagement,” she said.
Maphorisa was part of government team at the PSBC. She said it is important for both parties to the PSBC to respect the rules of negotiations in order to maintain a calm environment during negotiations. She announced the resignation of Modiri Mbaakanyi as chairman of PSBC and said that the council is in the process of appointing an independent facilitator. Mbaakanyi is the former President of Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) and member of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) finance committee.
When he was appointment PSBC chairman most members of the public sector unions complained that he is aligned to the ruling party and government. Maphorisa acknowledged the important role played by the public sector unions and expressed optimism that they will have a harmonious relationship going forward.
Maphorisa also revealed that government introduced the ORACLE system to replace the Infinium system to addres the issue of ghost employees in the public service who have been milking government coffers millions of pula. The outdated Infinium system was not integrated in the payroll system resulting in some instances of the creation of ghost employees. Maphorisa said since they rolled out the ORACLE system to various ministries they have so far identified 52 ghost employees. “About P9 million has been paid out to ghost employees dating back to 2006,” revealed Maphorisa.
She said that they will soon roll out the system to district offices after they have completed in Gaborone by the 31st of March 2015. Oracle system according the Director of Public Service Management will help in resolution of data anomalies which has led to some people holding positions which are not theirs and help in improving manpower planning.