Unions should act against lazy members

The sitting of the Gaborone City Council full council meeting was this week delayed for two days after the mayor Kagiso Thutlwe refused to read his speech.

He said he would not read the speech he could not authenticate, as the council officers only submitted it to his office a day before the opening of the full council sitting. He told councillors that he had long requested that the officers submit the speech a week or two before the council meeting, so he could familiarise himself with its content, and further ascertain its authenticity.

Thutlwe stated that the officers have not heeded his call and continue to submit late.

We agree with the mayor, because as an elected officer, his responsibility is to the electorate and giving them correct information is key to delivery. His was, therefore, a legitimate and principled position, expected from all leaders.

Council officials need to understand the days of elected leaders rubber stamping or being conveyor belts of civil servants positions without question are over. The new leadership understand that theirs is a duty to disseminate correct information that they can defend if need be.

 Unfortunately, of late, civic leaders are at times forced to take unpopular actions in order to force public officers to heed that, and also do their work.

Just last month, the Tonota Sub District Council had to suspend its meeting in order to force council workers to attend to malfunctioning toilets. The councillors also stated that it was not the first time the toilets have broken down, and that they have long requested the officers to attend to the matter, but in vain.

 Councils are service centres for citizens. These are places where people apply for trading licences, sanitation and garbage collection, construction inspections and a plethora of other services. Councils deal directly with the people on behalf of the central government.

It therefore goes that when council officers are unproductive to a point that they cannot even service their supervisors, the nation is held at ransom.

Things cannot go on unchallenged, and it is not just the duty of political leadership to enforce change of mindset. Trade unions, whose core duty is to fight for workers' rights, need to equate that with professionalism, productivity and responsibility. Public sector trade unions have to reign in on members who do not perform to their expected maximum, and ensure the civil service carries its duties to diligence and pride.  We, therefore, call on public sector trade unions, to, among other things, investigate and monitor service delivery of their members. To track of whether their members are professional in their day-to-day interactions with their customers.

Time has come for us all to demand better service.

Unions should also crack the whip.

Today's Thought

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care"

- Theodore Roosevelt

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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