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DPSM sat on P1billion budgeted for jobs

Publishing Date : 10 September, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) has shockingly returned close to P1billion budgeted for vacant government post to consolidated Fund, despite the high unemployment rate in the country, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard this week.


Appearing before the committee, DPSM Director, Naledi Mosalakatane who reported for duty on Monday, was without answers for the probing PAC members. Mosalakatane is among a group of senior civil servants who were appointed to top posts recently following the ascendance of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the throne. PAC was informed that the DPSM which is responsible for hiring civil servants has in the past financial year returned P900 million back to government.


 The monies were budgeted for filling vacancies across ministries as unemployment has proven to be a hot potato Botswana. It was shared with the inquisitive PAC members that government has over 7000 vacancies which need to be filled.  However it has been revealed that these posts could not be filled owing to the bureaucracy and the centralised DPSM hiring procedure. “Different council and ministries want to hire on their own but it is not possible because we have a system that we use as the DPSM. So that is why the whole process has stalled,” Mosalakatane said.


The DPSM has in recent years been criticised for failing to absorb employees even at entry level, positions which are not as complicated as other advanced postings. This publication has learnt that Government departments are advocating for a more decentralised system so that they can give employees who have been given short contracts permanent employment.There are some who have been given six months contracts, interns and others who the ministries considered as they have institutional memory and therefore can perform to the expectations.


The DPSM on the other hand is using the graduate register for their hiring process. The list as of current is still considering the 2010 graduates leaving the current ones who are having ‘piece jobs’ at their respective ministries with nothing. WeekendPost has established that most of the vacancies that need to be filled are at councils and within the disciplined forces.


SHORTAGE OF PERSONNEL AFFECTS SERVICE DELIVERY

Earlier this year, the then Minister of Basic Education told this publication that employing teachers on temporary arrangement is affecting school performances. She noted that this is not because teachers who are hired on temporary basis are less qualified but because they do not have security of tenure.


“I know some of them are great teachers, but if they do not have security of tenure, it affects their productivity. I would have happier teachers and secure teachers if they were not temporary,” she stated.

Dow has said this however was beyond her as minister, even if she would have loved to employ more teachers on permanent basis

“Unless the system [DPSM system] creates vacancies we cannot hire anybody on permanent and pensionable basis, only temporary,” she said. According to Dow, Ministry of Basic Education needs more than 3000 teachers in public schools to deal with the shortage.  The teaching service currently has 26 000 teachers employed on permanent basis.


JOBS PRESIDENT

When Masisi was appointed Vice President, one of his tasks was to champion job creation agenda for government. However, since then, there has never been a point where government has managed to create a good number of jobs. In fact, over the past four years, government has seen scores of citizens losing their jobs, the most devastating one being the closure of BCL mine in 2016, which resulted in over 5000 employees directly losing their jobs.


Masisi has been termed “jobs president” for his promise to create jobs during his tenure. However, Masisi has indicated that his idea of job creation is the one which is led by the private sector while government takes the role of an enabler. In any case, Masisi has revealed that he does not intend to grow the public service.


Immediately after assuming the presidency, Masisi told international media of his intention to shrink the civil service, sell state companies and cut red tape as he targets increased foreign investment. According to Bloomberg, Masisi has identified reducing Botswana’s reliance on diamonds and creating jobs for the almost one in five workers who are unemployed as his top priorities since taking office six weeks ago.


“The government in and of itself does not really create jobs,” Masisi said. “It is not my desire to grow the public service any bigger, if anything it is my desire to trim the civil service so we are more efficient, we are leaner, meaner, and we can do business and we are more attractive to the private sector for them to invest,” Masisi said. 

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