FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Federation of Public, Private Parastatals Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has warned that the recently introduced transfer policy might cause problems if not well implemented.
The government, through the Office of the President (OP), recently released a savingram inviting civil servants wishing to join their spouses to launch formal transfer applications by July 30, 2018.
However BOFEPUSU has said that the government should implement the policy with strong caution.
“The idea is good. It needs proper implementation. If the policy is implemented in a manner that shows very strong bias towards those who are married it might backfire.
For example, we do not want to see those who are married being transferred to towns while those who are not married go to rural areas,” said BOFEPUSU spokesperson Mogomotsi Motshegwa.
“There has to be a balance. If those who are single feel hard hit they may enter into marriages of convenience in order to use their marriage as a ticket to earn transfers,” he said, adding that if the policy is not implemented properly, it might also affect the morale of unmarried employees and result in poor service delivery in the public service.
Motshegwa highlighted that in the past, the government had come up with good initiatives aimed at improving the morale of the civil servants only to see them not bearing fruits owing to poor implementation.
“Marriage is a noble and holy institution that must be protected at all times.
BOFEPUSU spokesperson noted that married civil servants would gain motivation that would translate into productivity in the workforce as a result of being close to their spouses.
The recent move by the government was widely celebrated by the public, most notably civil servants as well various key players in the country amongst them social commentators and attorneys who have often presided over many divorces amongst public sector employees.
There have often been concerns that living apart as a result of geographical transfers by married civil servants promotes extramarital affairs and divorce as well as the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Some critics of vast geographical transfers of civil servants have opined that living apart drains family resources. As a result of the transfers keeping two separate homes also makes it more difficult for families to save adequately.
For years, some public servants have been pushing the government do everything possible to discourage the unnecessary separation of spouses to no avail.
There have also been concerns that some spouses play a very minimal in the role of raising their children as result of job-induced separations with their families.