Last year, 2016, a temporary arrangement of labour delegation to the ILC was made by the Ministry of Labour in view of the inability of the two federations to resolve the issue of tripartite representation.
This came about after BFTU rejected a meeting to discuss representation in tripartite structures that was proposed by BOFEPUSO.
The arrangement was such that BFTU would lead the labour delegation with BOFEPUSU as a labour advisor, hence last year, comrade Lentswe, the BFTU President, and comrade Rari, Secretary General of BOFEPUSU, went to ILC as labour delegate and advisor respectively.
This was done with an understanding that as for this year, 2017, BFTU would be advisor and BOFEPUSU would be the lead delegate. This was to be a temporary arrangement until the issue of the most representative was resolved or federations were able to agree among themselves.
This year, we realized that contrary to our understanding of the last year’s arrangement, BFTU was still going to lead the delegation while BOFEPUSU was to be an advisor.
Though BOFEPUSU was unhappy about the arrangement owing to the understanding that was reached last year of the rotation of roles, BOFEPUSU accepted the situation. BOFEPUSU realized this at a meeting that was held at the Ministry Employment and Labour Productivity two days prior to leaving for the ILC.
It is true however that BOFEPUSU could not attend a meeting that BFTU invited them to prior to leaving for the ILC. This was owing to our long held position that we would not honour piece meal activities
In spite of this understanding that yet again BFTU would lead the labour delegation and BOFEPUSU would be the advisors to labour, upon arrival to ILC, the BOFEPUSU team had a rude awakening when comrade Mhotsha indicated that instead of BOFEPUSU being the labour advisor, he has rather nominated BOPEU to take that position.
Contrary to the misinformation that was fed to the public, there were no threats that were directed towards comrade Mhotsha in connection with this matter. Comrade Mhotsha was only confronted by comrade Rari and later comrade Motshwarakgole to explain the sudden change of the seats arrangement with respect to labour, and upon him refusing to budge, the issue was abandoned and was never pursued.
The BOFEPUSU team did its best under the circumstances to lobby for the support from other labour organisations across the world to speak in support of the Botswana case. The Secretary General of the federation comrade Tobokani Rari spoke to motivate the case against the government of Botswana.
We are satisfied at the end with the conclusions arrived at by the Committee of Application of Standards against Botswana.