PALAPYE: Public servants are drivers of government machinery and they operationalise government policies, Justice Lot Moroka of the Francistown High Court said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) in Palapye, Moroka said the union must find time to speak about ethics and against corruption because only a productive and corrupt-free public service has the moral authority to demand an improvement in its package.
“Your duty as public servants is therefore to serve the public ethically,” he said. “This entails avoidance of corrupt practices and a duty to blow the whistle on corruption. Report and uncover corruption because if you do not, it will become the norm.”
He explained that traditionally, constitutionally and administratively, Botswana enjoyed separation of powers between the legislature, executive and the judiciary, hence the three arms of government.
“But upon closer examination, the reality is that the public servants are the fourth arm of the government, ” he said.
Moroka said public servants made more laws than Parliament, while Parliament disseminated laws. He said the government left the circulation of regulations to the public service.
He added: “The public service also makes more policies than the executive and they preside in more cases than the courts. There are more disciplinary hearings in offices than there are court cases. There is therefore no doubt that public servants are the drivers of the government machinery because it is them who operationalise government policies.”
Moroka said it was through public servants’ enduring dedication and
“Your contribution towards our prosperity as a nation hinges on your adherence to the highest ethical standards and productivity,” he said. He urged the public servants to love their country; that whenever they take their positions in government they should be guided by the love for Botswana; and that they should work for their country without political bias.
He added that while public servants were entitled to hold political views, such must never stand in the way of their service to the people. He enlightened them that professionally the public service was critical for the success of the nation.
Moroka applauded BOPEU for choosing a theme that aspires for unity of the working class. He said that reflects them as a trade union that aspires for democratic existence and social justice. He added that the biggest guarantee of unity of the working class is the consciousness of the workers.
However, he cautioned of more challenges ahead, “so your long term survival as a public sector union will largely depend on your ability to read the evolving economic and political realities that prevail in the country and to quickly adapt. This therefore demands a certain level of consciousness both at a leadership level and lower organisations levels”.