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Review Old Age Pension Grant– PPP

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Pono Moatlhodi PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Member of Parliament (MP) for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi on Friday tabled a motion in which he seeks the government to increase the allowance given to old age pensioners.

At first, Moatlhodi had wanted the money to be increased to P1,500 which he later changed and requested for amendment for an increment to be left without a figure.

In his submission, Moatlhodi said he understands that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected the country so badly and therefore it will not be fair to request the allowance to be P1,500, but the Minister of Finance, Thapelo Matsheka and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale should decide on a percentage or an increase they believe is suitable. Currently, old age pensioners get P530 every month.

“I believe that the two Ministers will increase old age pensioners fund after looking at consolidated funds. It will be up to them on how they want to increase. I do not want to state the figure because the Minister of Finance is the one who knows how the country has been financially affected. The money given to old age pensioners is very little while the standard of living is very high,” Moatlhodi said.

However, some opposition MPs said the motion lacks substance since it does not have figures and it does not state a time frame in which the government should implement the decision. The members’ contention was that there was a similar motion in the 11th Parliament, which was not signed and implemented.

Meanwhile, Parliament has rejected a motion in which the MP for Mahalapye East, Yandani Boko was requesting for the amendment of

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the Electoral Act. During the voting process, 39 voted against the motion, 11 were absent and 14 were supporting the motion.

Boko had said they only want the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to be an autonomous body, one that does not fall under the Office of the President (OP).

His belief is that the IEC cannot be independent if the secretary of the Commission is still appointed by the President.

“[The] IEC is not independent as it stands because it is under OP. Our aim is to the instil integrity of the elections. It is supposed to have its own independent budget and be able to employ its own staff without interference of any office.

For example, the 2019 General Election was a mess and some Batswana were not happy with the way the elections were conducted. Again, there were reports that there was interference, something we were not happy about as opposition members. What we want is a free and fair election in the country and that is why we seek the amendment of the Act,” Boko had stated.

The other thing the legislator talked about is that the ruling party can issue a writ in haste if it thinks it is enjoying the support and realising the opposition is in crisis.

“So let’s remove the powers to issue a writ from the President. I do not think the motion will be discussed this week looking at the Parliament schedule,” he said.



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