Khama says civil servants can have business, DPSM says NO, Unions say YES
The Director of the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Cater Morupisi said civil servants are not allowed to be engaged in other business outside work except for those in the agricultural sector. Speaking to The Gazette yesterday (Monday) Morupisi said the public misunderstood President Ian Khama who allegedly said at a Kgotla meeting in Thamaga that even if the country’s economy were to pick up to allow the government to increase civil servants’ salaries, they will never be satisfied. Khama was quoted as saying he feels the decision to allow civil servants to engage in business outside their every day work would be appropriate.
Morupisi said, “The confusion here is that people are saying the president said the civil servants will be allowed to do business outside their everyday work. That is not correct. The civil servants are the ones who made the request to the President and he said that it was one of the things that will be considered. The president has never said civil servants could engage in any business,” Morupisi explained.
On the other hand, the Secretary General of Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) Tobokani Rari said civil servants are not barred from having businesses but there are some restrictions; “They are not allowed to conduct their business during working hours. They are not allowed to use the government resources to advance their business and when they engage in business they should declare it to the employer. The government can only restrict civil servants from 07:30 to 16:30 after that the government has no control on the civil servants. They can do whatever they like.
This not a new phenomenon, it has been there. I think the president was not well advised because it has been like that. Maybe he could have talked about relaxing conditions put in place,” said Rari. Rari said a civil servant can engage in any kind of business, giving an example that many government employees own tuck shops. He noted that they only differ with the president because he gave the statement at the wrong forum. “These are issues of conditions of service and employment. This is one issue that if you want to alter, you will need to go through the consultative structure established by the statute,” he said.
The Gazette interviewed civil servants in the streets of Gaborone. It emerged that the servants did not understand the provision. A civil servant who wanted to be addressed as Neo, a teacher at Sir Seretse Khama Junior Secondary School said she was selling clothes and she was not aware that they are not supposed to do any other business apart from agricultural business.
Another civil servant who owns a car wash in Gaborone who did not want to be mentioned said even their supervisors has businesses outside their offices which are not necessarily agricultural. “They should lead by example. We will not declare anything until they first declare their business,” he said.