Councillors are lobbying government to consider approving at least the proposed 75% of benefits that Members of Parliament (MP) enjoy, as their perquisite for local government service.
The president of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA), Jeffrey Sibisibi disclosed councillors’ grievances to The Monitor after a countrywide tour of councils following the commencement of his tenure.
Sibisibi was elected the new BALA president in March of this year.
“I have been touring councils around the country and addressed councillors sharing with them my roadmap. Councillors’ main concern raised in all of the meetings I held was their welfare as far as salaries are concerned,” Sibisibi said in an interview.
“They have disclosed that they are overwhelmed with duties in their wards hence the need for government to consider giving them 75% of the MPs’ benefits because they are the ones who are always on the ground faced with responsibilities.” He stated that electorates expect their representatives to assist them whenever they need their help despite it being during the day or at night. They said the 75% perks would help them attend and contribute in all activities in their wards without fail.
Sibisibi conceded that councillors are overwhelmed with responsibilities hence the need for their conditions of service to be reviewed. He also pointed out his concerns for councillors’ condition of service arguing it
BALA president pointed out another one of the councillors’ concerns that they did not benefit from the six percent salary increment for civil servants.
In a different matter, Sibisibi said he pleaded with councillors countrywide to prepare to partake in the muted Constitutional Review.
“I have advised councillors to lobby to be part of the Constitution review and avoid being left behind. This is the beginning of my roadmap. I will be taking BALA to its members. I want them to own it because it (BALA) has structures in those councils,” Sibisibi said. He also shared that he sensitised BALA members on decentralisation because most of it is under local government.
Sibisibi stated that they have called on councillors to demonstrate to government and position themselves for added responsibilities towards its (decentralisation) support.