Labour and Home Affairs Minister, Edwin Batshu has said that only 18 percent of a P5.67 million budget set aside to develop the Industrial Court in the 2014-2015 financial year, was actually used.
Batshu told parliamentarians last week that the funds had not been used due to “delayed technical support”.
‘‘This low expenditure is attributable mainly to the delayed technical support and the required approval before projects can be commenced,” he said recently when presenting his ministry’s planned budgets for the 2015-2016 financial year.
The funds had been intended to computerise the Industrial Court, provide Biometric Access Control, CCTV camera systems installation and associated hardware/software, examine and repair the Local Area Network and also purchase IT and court reporting equipment. The funds would also procure portacabins and furniture. Tswapong North Member of Parliament, Prince Maele, was unimpressed by the revelations, saying the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs should state valid reasons for the under-expenditure.
He added that while the Industrial Court has challenges, it is not apparent that it requires further funding.
“That money should be reduced and transferred to other ministries which need it,” he said. Francistown South legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi noted that high number of cases end up at the Industrial Court, instead of being resolved within the Ministry of Labour.
He said the majority of the cases are wage disputes between the employers and workers. He further alleged that some employers when called to the ministry to resolve the disputes, do not cooperate or do not show up at all.
“Some employers do not even show up when they are called to the Ministry to resolve their disputes,” he said.
“They even suggest that the case should be taken to the Industrial Court because they know that once there, the case will take longer than expected to be solved.
“In the meantime, the families of those employees have to struggle as they are not supported and cared for financially.”
Mmadinare Member of Parliament, Kefentse Mzwinila, said it was critical that organisations, particularly in the private sector, formulate retrenchment policies to guide their processes. “At the moment, there is no streamlining or a process used to calculate the exit package when one is retrenched,” he said. “This would reduce the case load at the Industrial Court as the retrenchment guidelines will not differ.”