Agric ministry sued for millions by employees

Chedza Mmolawa

Eight civil servants employed by the Ministry of Agriculture in the department of veterinary services as Veterinary Officers are suing the government over P1.7 million for refund on monthly rentals, monthly transport and other unpaid benefits.
In a claim for over P1 712 55. 30 served to the Attorney General in April of last year, Kesegofetse Molosiwa of Molosiwa Attorneys who represents the eight disgruntled employees, stated that his clients are suing for subsistence allowance in lieu of decent accommodation due to all permanent and pensionable officers from the December 1st, 2009 to date.
Molosiwa made an additional claim based on his client’s remote area service allowance, from the April 1st, 2014 to date, and that they also seek a refund for monthly rentals paid by them for accommodation, monthly transport fare to and from their settlements to Francistown. The Attorney indicated that he would approach court on behalf of his clients for an Order that the Ministry provide free accommodation, free internet and free transport once a month from their rural settlements to town or city as well as a the cost of the suit.
All eight claimants are officially based at Tsokotshaa, Zoroga, Manxotae and Sepako villages. Molosiwa claims one of his clients, Bonolo Ramatlhare who is placed at Sepako village was placed incorrectly in Category 2 RASA when in fact he should have been placed in Category 1 RASA. According to Molosiwa, Ramatlhare ought to be placed in the correct category and be paid according to the appropriate grade. He added that Ramatlhare is owed the difference between the two categories from 2014 to date.
“Public service management directive No.08 of 2014, further provided that category of RASA earnings be provided with free rent, internet and transport every month. The plaintiffs have not received the benefits that are afforded to the Category 1 RASA earning areas as they ought to be. Plaintiffs have been paying their own rentals from 2014 to date. They have not been provided with internet,” claims Molosiwa.
Relying on the Public Service Management Directive Circular saving gram REF: DP 19/72 VI (121) the attorney claims that it was realized on April 2nd, 2016 that some ministries were not implementing Public Service Management directive No.08 of 2014 and some people continued to pay rent when they should not have been. He also states that ministries were directed to start paying rent for all employees who are eligible for the dispensation effective April 1st, 2014 and to refund those who were paying their own rentals, however the matter was not addressed.
Molosiwa advised that his clients wrote to the Ombudsman on June 7th, 2016 and were informed that their complaint had been received. In spite of the assurance from the Ombudsman that investigations had commenced they have received no feedback despite repeated follow up requests.