The Kgatleng District Commissioner (DC) Wame Samapipi might find herself in trouble following issuing of a savingram in which she said the Independence Day is not a public holiday hence all public servants are expected to be working and partake in preparations and celebrations of the day at the kgotla. According to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) boss, Carter Morupisi, the day will be a public holiday and the author of the savingram will face action.
The savingram has the Council stamp and Samapipi’s signature. It was authored on the September 12 and addressed to the Director, Regional Operations in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Council Secretary, Landboard Secretary, Coordinator of the District Health Management Team, Coordinator Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, Tribal Secretary and all heads of department in Kgatleng District.
The savingram states; “We have reliably been informed that participation by public officers during preparations for Independence Day celebrations across the district has gone down drastically. This has emanated from a wrong interpretation by officers that Botswana Day (September 30) is a public holiday. I would like to clearly state that this day is reserved to celebrate the independence of Botswana and it is therefore an official working day, hence officers including teachers must be at work (Kgotla) and not in office, participate fully during the day’s activities to make it a success. The 1st October is then a public holiday. We have overtime turned this day to be a public holiday and that is wrong”.
Samapipi further stated that from now on as the country prepares for the 50th independence celebration, officers must all take part and attend the celebrations.
Morupisi has however told The Botswana Gazette that he knows nothing about the savingram. “I do not know of such a savingram, I have never issued one and as far as I know, Independence Day is a public holiday,” he said. Morupisi further stated that supervisors of the District Commissioner in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development are the ones who have to take action against Samapipi for misinforming public servants and the nation.
Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Deputy Secretary General, Tobokani Rari expressed doubt that Morupisi would be unaware of the savingram. “There is no how the DC would author such a communiqué without instructions from the superiors, and besides that, the savingram is authentic, it was stamped and signed by someone who has the powers to do it in public office,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Samapipi said she indeed authored the savingram and stated that upon realising that there were amendments in the Public Service Act that indicated that the day is a paid public holiday, she issued another savingram last Friday. However when asked to provide a copy of the latest savingram, Samapipi said she had to check with the Permanent Secretary at their mother Ministry before faxing a copy.