Members of Parliament (MPs) have berated government, expressing displeasure at what they termed as ill treatment of Special Constables by the latter.
This was the all-round sentiment after the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi told Parliament that only 43% of Special Constables have been absorbed into police service.
“Since inception of the Special Constables Programme in 2004, 8,802 Special Constables were enlisted in the Botswana Police Service, out of which 3,823 have been absorbed on a permanent and pensionable basis,” he said.
He further told Parliament that 373 Special Constables have been dismissed from work while 69 have passed away.
Kgathi also told the house that there had been delays in processing of terminal benefits for Special Constables.
He said the shortest time to pay terminal benefits was two months while the longest time taken was 24 months.
“As at June 30, 2019, out of 7,298 Special Constables, who qualified for payment of terminal benefits, 1,420 had not been paid yet. The process of payment is at varying stages,” he said.
The outgoing Bobonong legislator said Special Constables, who were occasionally required to work in specialised fields in the police service, like Criminal Investigation Department were paid a plain clothes allowance.
He further said there was no differentiation in terms of qualifications between male and female potential officers.
Gaborone Central legislator, Phenyo Butale had asked the Minister to state the absorption rate of the Special Constables; how long it took to pay terminal benefits; how many had not yet been paid their terminal benefits and reasons; why they were not paid the same allowances like other ordinary officers for specialised jobs, which they performed; and whether there was any differentiation in terms of qualifications required for the Special Constables position between male and female
Supplementing his questions, Butale revealed that female Special Constables were expected to have attained 32 points while their male counterparts were expected to have 28 points.
Kgathi said he was not aware of this and asked Butale to report to the Commissioner of Police.
He said there were some Special Constables who had been at it for many years, but were now told that they were too old to be absorbed into the police service.
To this, Kgathi accused Butale of trying to score political points. He said the reason some Special Constables did not get absorbed was because they failed to meet the requirements to be admitted to the Otse Police College.
He, however, said they were working on how to remedy the situation.
Francistown South legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi asked the Minister why they were not hiring officers who had been Special Constables since inception of the programme.
To this, Kgathi said he would consult with Cabinet.
Gabane-Mmankgodi legislator, Pius Mokgware on the other hand asked Kgathi whether he was satisfied with the 43% absorption rate.
The Minister said they absorbed according to the budget. He said they could only absorb 300 Special Constables. He added that 95% of the budget was reserved for Special Constables.
Mochudi West legislator, Gilbert Mangole lamented how unfair it was that MPs were paid within two months after completing their term while Special Constables were made to wait for up to two years.
He questioned whether there was a set standard turn-around time for making payments.
Kgathi admitted it was wrong and said he would follow up with the police to ensure Special Constables were paid on time.