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Outspoken trade unionist to have his day in court

CHAKALISA DUBE
Motshegwa
FRANCISTOWN: Outspoken trade unionist Ketlhalefile Motshegwa’s dis- ciplinary hearing has been moved to Gaborone next week Thursday, at an un- disclosed venue.

Motshegwa, who is the secretary gen- eral of the Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities Workers Union (BL LAWHU) appeared for a disciplinary hearing last week wednesday at the Francistown City Council (FCC).

The latter are his employers. The FCC has charged Motshegwa with an offence of, ‘ Absence from duty without leave or reasonable excuse as outlined in the public service act.

The hearing on wednesday lasted for the better part of the day, but no verdict was reached. Monitor has learnt that the hearing was moved to gaborone since most parties in the matter are based in the Southern part of the country.

FCC deputy city clerk edwin Pheko also confirmed this move.

The disciplinary proceedings were chaired by Robert Rabasimane who was at one point vice president for BL- LAWHU. Rabasimane would not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was out of reach.

when reached for comment, Mot- shegwa also confirmed that a verdict in his case has not been reached. He also said that that he would appear for an- other hearing in gaborone on Thursday though he was yet to be informed of the venue.

“I cannot divulge much details for now because I do not want to jeorpadise my case. It will be fair for me to comment extensively after the case,”

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he said.

Motshegwa is also charged with an of- fence of ‘willful disobedience of lawful or reasonable orders given by the employer calling him to report for duty’.

According to a leaked letter, in his re- sponse Motshwegwa argues that on the 9th of December 2014 he wrote a letter to the government principal employer DPSM and made reference to the recognition agreement and renewed his secondment for the year 2015/16.

“Clause 9 of the recognition agree- ment between BLLAHWU and DPSM makes it mandatory that a BLLAHWU representative in this case myself be sec- onded to the union. There is therefore a contractual right giving rise to this se- condment,” reads the letter.

At the hearing, Motshegwa was ac- companied by BOFEPUSU secretary general Tobokani Rari.

Last week, Rantao Kewagamang At- torneys, acting on behalf of Motshegwa also advised FCC to cease disciplinary proceedings against Motshegwa but the latter ignored the order. The law- yers said there is an existing agreement between BLLAHWU and DPSM that Motshegwa be seconded to the former in order to perform union duties.

In the letter, the lawyers also threat- ened to take legal action if the FCC con- tinues disciplinary proceedings against Motshegwa.

In 2013, a High Court ruling empha- sised that unions have the right to sec- ond their members.



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