Subsidised Loans, P4M Dividends Mark Radikolo's Legacy

BOSETU's Winston Radikolo with his secretary-general Tobokani Rari
BOSETU's Winston Radikolo with his secretary-general Tobokani Rari

To say he ascended to the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) presidency with high expectations from its community back in 2017, would be an understatement.

The BOSETU community held the then newly elected president in high regard as a serious-minded, no-nonsense revolutionist, who would not tolerate mediocrity.

Before long BOSETU parted ways with its executive secretary, amidst accusations of impropriety that were flying thick and fast in the faces of its members, who wanted nothing more than to see the back of the man. As the new broom, Winston Radikolo's sweep didn’t disappoint. Unbeknownst to him though, Radikolo’s rise to BOSETU’s presidency coincided with the climax of long-running challenges faced by BOSETU’s investment wing, which was literally starring closure as the regulator NBFIRA suspended its license with over P9 million owed to the taxman. It was the baptism of fire for the new president and his team.

Fast-track to December 2020, the achievements of BOSETU’s investment wing read like a fairy tale; the investment wing is not only out of the woods, but for the first time BOSETU as a shareholder in the company also received a P4 million payout. This, thanks to record profit that contrasted with the state of affairs when he first stepped into BOSETU’s top post. Perhaps more impressive about Radikolo’s tenure and presidency is that its investment wing, Peubo Investments (Pty) Ltd T/A Peubo Cash-loan, weathered the storms and picked itself up over the years. A decision was taken that a chunk of its profit is ploughed back for the benefit of members of BOSETU, in particular, to subsidise their loans resulting in low-interest, thanks to the continued reduction of lending rates and administration fees.

While the dividends were a first in the history of Bosetu, it was not surprising that the holding company eventually performed the feat, as the signs were there at Peubo's stakeholders' engagement of 2019, where Radikolo waxed lyrical about the trajectory of BOSETU companies and even made the prediction that at the rate things are going, it is only a matter of time before shareholders receive their first dividends.

He was spot on. As Peubo, headed by CEO Ned Phatshwane, announced a healthy P15 million profit and P4 million dividends to BOSETU president in December last year, Radikolo said it had been a long journey for the company from owing over P9 million in taxes to the strides that he has witnessed at the company since 2017. He praised the company's management team and the various boards of BOSETU's subsidiaries for the sterling job in navigating the ship through stormy shores. At that event, Radikolo shared that in future the dividends may not accrue directly to the organisation but to members in the form of further loans subsidies that would shield members from high-interest loans they are exposed to in the country.

Besides the low-interest loans and the first-ever dividends from their investment arm, BOSETU under Radikolo has also successfully continued with its annual half a million pula social impact programme, offered through BOSETU'S education trust, which offers members annual scholarships to upgrade and diversify their skills.

BOSETU secretary-general Tobokani Rari described Radikolo as a beauty to work with as he sent him birthday wishes on social media on January 2. In his birthday wishes Rari gave interesting insights about Radikolo; as a man of substance and rare wisdom [qualities] that had exhibited themselves during BOSETU leadership forums way before he rose to the hot seat. Rari wrote then: “During these meetings, I would more often hear a commanding voice from comrade Winston Radikolo; every time I would hear the voice, it would be guiding an issue under discussion to a decision-making point and conclusion; I would marvel at the skill; It is an extraordinary skill possessed only by people with immense leadership qualities; I would come to work closely with comrade Radikolo when he was elected president of BOSETU; comrade Radikolo is a cut above the rest, a man of impeccable reputation, a principled leader who lives by his word; he possesses immense skill in matters of strategic management and has a resounding grip of matters concerning trade unionism and trade union management." The full profitability of BOSETU’s investment wing is also a sigh of relief for Rari, who had never hidden his impatience and longing for the investment wing to show the shareholders the dividends.

Rari’s thunderous demands for dividends from the investment wing was perhaps the highlight of his remarks when he repeated the demands at the December 2020 Peubo annual stakeholder engagement, ahead of the announcement for the long-awaited windfall.

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