Mmegi Online :: DIS demotes pilot for flying Khama
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Friday 14 December 2018, 17:40 pm.
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DIS demotes pilot for flying Khama

A pilot in the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) alleges that he was demoted to clerical work merely because he is believed to be associated with the former spy boss, Isaac Kgosi.
By Mpho Mokwape Fri 30 Nov 2018, 14:16 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: DIS demotes pilot for flying Khama








Opelonomi Edwin Matlhagela who has been with the intelligence agency since September 28, 2012 says his services have been reduced to paperwork simply because he took an instruction from Kgosi to fly former president Ian Khama to Mosu.  Matlhagela’s redeployment comes after he took an instruction to fly Khama to Mosu following President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s refusal around April to lend the former president an aircraft and banned him from flying Botswana Defence Force ones.

Khama’s confidante, Kgosi had then lent him the spy agency’s aircraft, the move that infuriated Masisi. Kgosi was subsequently sacked from the public service. Matlhagela, on October 12, 2018 through his attorney Uyapo Ndadi issued a statutory notice of intention to sue the intelligence services for demoting him while he was merely carrying an instruction from his superiors to fly Khama.

According to his court papers filed on November 21, 2018 before Gaborone High Court judge, Justice Modiri Letsididi, the pilot is seeking a review and setting aside of security service’s decision to redeploy him and deny him to fly.

He is seeking review on grounds that the redeployment was unlawful as it essentially amounted to a unilateral variation of his employment contract and that it was unreasonable such that he has been reduced to a clerk at the stroke of a pen.

According to his founding affidavit, Matlhagela said on July 27, 2018 he was hit with a surprise when he was served with a letter redeploying him from the Air Wing where he served as a pilot to the Corporate Services Division.

The redeployment letter reads as, “You are hereby redeployed from the Air Wing to Corporate Services Division as the Air Liaison Officer. The redeployment is on your present salary scale and it is with immediate effect”.

He has explained that although his employment letter does not state he was employed as a pilot, he was specifically recruited from the civil aviation authority as a pilot to fly the DIS aircraft. “Much to my shock and surprise, I was served

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with a letter redeploying me from the air wing,” he said. Matlhagela said when he queried the justification for the change and what the role entailed, he was given an unsigned note by his supervisor Tshoganetso Dioka detailing the role. He pointed out that as it would appear from the profile, the functions of the role was not technical but merely clerical or administrative in nature as they include procurement of all logistical needs for Air Unit and their personnel and also that he is in charge of booking accommodation for the crew. In his affidavit, Matlhagela said he has not been given reasons why he was redeployed but according to him, the only logical explanation was that he is believed that he is associated with the previous spy chief.

“I say this because after he left I was asked by Tino Phuthego why I took an instruction from him to fly the former president to Mosu.

“I responded by saying I was merely executing an instruction as a subordinate as in my line of duty I have been given instructions to fly people, sometimes for the purpose unknown to me,” he said. He argued that the decision to redeploy him was unreasonable and should be set aside because to him as a pilot, flying was important to him and that personally he was losing the hours necessary for his growth and experience.

Matlhagela sought an order that the decision of the Acting Director General of DIS to be reviewed and be declared unlawful, unreasonable and thus null and void.

That he be consequently redeployed to his previous position as a pilot in the Air Wing unit with immediate effect and order the respondents to pay costs of the application.

Lastly, he is also seeking to be granted further alternative reliefs.

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