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Gov't Should Lead By Example

MONITOR EDITOR
The issue of COVID-19 Scorpions has made its way through different platforms, with many angered by what they term government’s roundabout turn with regards to their remuneration.

Unions and individuals did not take kindly to the announcement by the government that the COVID-19 Scorpions contracts were erroneous, and must be the same as those for public works programme (Ipelegeng).  The circumlocution irked many people, who used different social media platforms to air their discontent with the sudden turnaround. While it is understandable that the country has so far used large sums of money to fight the spread of the coronavirus, it however should not be used as an excuse to exploit citizens.

Botswana Federaton of Trade Unions has already issued a statement condemning government. The statement in part reads: “The COVID-19 Scorpions positions are frontline posts that deserve to be given recognition and favourable terms of employment. These are young people with post-secondary certificate who have been properly employed in accordance with Directive No 4 of 2005, which deals with direct appointment of employees and their remuneration commensurate with their qualifications and expertise. We cannot allow and do not condone exploitation of people with required knowledge when there are proper rules to be followed”. Gaborone City Council through its Facebook page announced that it has hired a total of 156 qualified

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COVID-19 Scorpions to mitigate the spread of the virus. Underline qualified! And the government has to announce that it will only pay COVID-19 Scorpions a measly P560? Really now. COVID-19 Scorpions are expected to conduct basic risk assessments and recommend appropriate measures to ensure workers’, learners’ and customers’ safety. Yet another organ, the North West District Council (NWDC) announced its induction of the first batch of temporary COVID-19 Scorpions where a number of speakers outlined their duties and how they are expected to conduct themselves. All that for a little over P500! Sometimes it is easy to be on the comfort zone, and make decisions that affect others negatively. It would be interesting to find out if those who make such decisions can live on P560 a month, thus including expenses such as accommodation, food, going to and from work and other necessity on that salary?  If government is the one exploiting its citizens, how is it going to regulate the private sector and ensure that others abide by the country’s labour laws? How can government protect its citizens from exploitation by others when in turn in exploits its own?



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