The Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) membership and the general public is informed that Ms. Masego Mogwera and Mr Topias Marenga who are the President and General Secretary of the union respectively are back in office after a long period of absence.
The legally recognized leadership comes at a time when the union is left with a few months before congress. Admittedly, the union structures have collapsed hence the need to resuscitate them to ensure that the congress is held as per the dictates of our constitution. We are yet to establish what has been happening in the organisation with the view to pick up the pieces and map a clear way forward.
2. We note that following a Court of Appeal Decision of the 4th June 2021, an unsigned press statement carried under BOPEU letterhead was issued. The statement was circulating on social media purporting to be a resolution of BOPEU National Executive Committee (NEC). Please be informed that no such meeting of BOPEU NEC was convened as neither invitations nor agenda items were sent to NEC members. The statement is therefore malicious and should be rejected with the contempt it deserves.
3. This press statement is intended to urge members of BOPEU to remain calm as the situation return to normalcy. We all must admit that for the past three years or so, BOPEU has dominated all media platforms for all the wrong reasons imaginable. As the leadership of BOPEU we owe the membership an unqualified apology for all the disservice that they had to endure. We recognize that there is a high level of disgruntlement amongst members due to failure to get representation at all levels including court cases of members leading to some losing cases and or jobs. We recognize that some members had to foot their own bills for labour disputes. In some instances, the union failed to meet critical timelines to the detriment of service to members. The stakeholder relations have been significantly strained as most union financial obligations were not honored. Legal firms also returned files for members as fee notes were not honored. Consequently, BOPEU members were the hardest hit by the lack of service. The core business of the union was set aside and its financial resources used for personal interests outside the scope and mandate of the union.
4. In terms of Court decisions, it should be noted that all Resolutions and /or decisions taken at the Special General Congress and the Central Executive Committee held in November - December 2019 were set aside. At the aforesaid convocation there are claims that certain decisions were taken to appoint certain individuals to certain positions within BOPEU. However, we can confirm that the court decisions restored all those who were alleged to have been suspended to their positions in all structures from Branch to Region.
5. We therefore appeal for calm as we pick up the pieces to ensure that we return to our coveted position of being ‘the union of choice.’ We note that the union membership has been polarized. We further note that this polarization is a result of gross misinformation that was intended to hijack the union for ill purposes. A lot of untrue statements were issued to members in the form of press statements and even in speeches. In Setswana ‘Metsi a kgoberega go itsheka’.
6. In conclusion, I urge all and sundry to remain resolute as the leadership tries the best they can to restore the integrity, stability and reputation of BOPEU to its enviable position of being the union of choice.