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COVID-19 scorpion contracts in limbo

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Dumelang Saleshando PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale has told Parliament that government is still exploring possible avenues to come up with a workable solution to extend contracts of COVID-19 scorpions workers, given the economic challenges as well as rising infections.

The issue came about after the Member of Parliament for Maun West constituency, Dumelang Saleshando asked whether there are plans to extend the contracts of employees engaged to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, such as the COVID-19 Scorpions, given that the risk of spread is much higher than it was at the time they were engaged.

“As Honourable Members are aware, the Scorpions were engaged on a fixed term contract of 10 months up to the 31st March 2021. It should be noted that the decision to engage the Scorpions was made under a constrained fiscal position.

This position has not changed and if anything, it has worsened as a result of the pandemic. I am therefore still exploring possible avenues to come up with a workable solution, given the economic challenges as well as rising infections. This effort has been ongoing since December 2020 and I am hopeful that we will succeed,” said Molale.  He also said a positive impact has been realized by this initiative and

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the efforts of the officers in our public institutions through public education and compliance monitoring. reflected some good work.

In addition he said the Ministry continues to engage on the matter given the importance of COVID-19 Scorpions in enforcing compliance to COVID-19 protocols at village/local level.

The issue caused controversy last year when the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development announced that government will only pay COVID-19 scorpions a measly P560.00, for the risky work they do during the crisis. The Ministry later reversed its  decision to terminate the temporary engagement of the COVID-19 Scorpions paying them with Ipelegeng funds and engaged them at B3 scale.

The scorpions are deployed in schools with the main aim of insuring compliance to health protocols.

They are conducting basic risk assessments and recommend appropriate measures to ensure workers, learners and customers safety.

Among their duties is to monitor required measures, sensitize staff, learners and the public, conduct patrols in public, work places, religious and learning institutions in regard to compliance of COVID-19 protocols.



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