Botswana Karate Association(BoKA) troubles are far from over as the controversy surrounding UFAK Junior & Senior championship is subsiding. Some volunteers who were engaged by the federation during the tournament have come out with guns blazing demanding payments for their services. Though most of volunteers were strictly under the wing of Sports Volunteers Movement (SVM) during the games, there were some of volunteers engaged by BoKA directly to help during the competition.
About 20 volunteers claim that their daily duties included putting up the fighting matts and technical duties which included taking part in referees practical by fighting and keeping scores during competition. Although under normal circumstances volunteers just extend a helping hand without expecting any payment but in this matter it was agreed by the two parties that they will be paid a flat rate of P50 per day. This therefore means that each individual is owed around P300 for their services during the six day tournament.
According to one of the disgruntled volunteers the situation is really inconveniencing because the federation officials have come to a point of not updating them on the matter. “Though someone might say this is small amount of money it is what we agreed and worked hard for, so we expect BoKA to honour their commitment. They said they needed us and we did answer their call to come and help, we didn’t even know that SVM was involved. Now when it comes to paying they take us from pillar to post, they promised to pay last week but nothing has happened up to now,” the volunteer said.
However the main problem that has left many wondering is, since BoKA was given an amount close to P3 million for the games why are they now struggling to pay. This issue of alleged failure to pay volunteers comes two weeks after BoKA relieved some national team coaches of their duties citing financial problems. “We worked hard day and night like slaves but we did get anything. I don’t really understand why they are doing this because the ministry gave them a lot of money but we don’t know where did that money really go. Now when we try talking to them they sideline us,” another aggrieved volunteer complained.
Another volunteer even shared that they were forced to use their own resources during the tournament since things were not in order. “We used our own transport because we saw there was no proper arrangement for that. They were really struggling but we made sure that everything runs smoothly and guess what, they act like they don’t know us now. Many weeks have passed now and we are still waiting, something needs to be done but for our part the problem is we don’t have enough resources to fight and protect ourselves,” she said.
BoKA public relations officer Isaiah Ramontshonyane said as far as he understands all the volunteers were paid what was due to them. “I don’t have any idea on who is not yet paid because all payments were done by Local Organising Committee through a representative of SVM. But there were other 10 karatekas whom I requested such that they assist in technical matters and they too were registered and inducted under SMV. But I think the confusion comes from some people who were engaged to help during the referees course practical so I’m not aware if they are not paid because I thought they were helping on their individual capacity,” said Ramontshonyane.
SVM Secretary General Moses Poloko has since corroborated Ramotshonyane’s story, “Karate requested 98 volunteers and we provided 88 personnel while they (BOKA) did bring the other 10 who were to help in technical matters and all of them were registered and inducted by us. In addition all were paid because it is BNSC who processed the payments, so we are not aware of any other case of non-payment on our side,” he said.
Throughout, BOKA’s Development officer China Metswi‘s name has been mentioned in the matter most importantly as someone who might have engaged the disgruntled volunteers. However in his defense he said, “People have been paid but those who claim that we owe them should come here and claim their money at our office. They might blame us but maybe they are the ones who failed to come and collect their funds,” he said.