- Mgadla does not have requisite academic qualifications
- She does not have ‘knowledge of university systems’
- Her position was never advertised
- Selective favouritism leaves other employees in the cold
While the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) is currently laying off employees who do not meet academic qualifications as set out in the institution’s new structure, the University Council has filled key positions with candidates who do not meet the set qualification requirements: this publication can confirm.
Rebecca Mmaesadi Mgadla, who was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) on a five year-contract effective 1st January 2018 ending 31st December 2022 has been appointed despite the fact she does not possess the requisite job experience and academic qualifications for the post.
The Botswana Gazette is in possession of documents prepared by Evalex, a South African Human Resource consulting company that was engaged and paid over P900 000.00 by BUAN to outline job specifications for key positions at the university and while the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance & Administration) requires someone with Masters Degree in Accounting/Finance/Human Resource, Mgadla was appointed to the position despite the fact she has only obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Botswana (UB), attained in 1990 and ACCA acquired from Botswana Accountancy College (BAC ) in 1999.
According to her offer letter, dated 19 December 2017 and signed by Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Khumoetsile Mmolawa, Mgadla earns a salary of P500, 340.00 per annum in the BUAN salary scale B8. An entry salary, B8 scale is P414 588.00 but Mgadla has been placed at the top notch of the scale (P500, 340.00 per annum) despite being an new employee. In addition, she is paid 10 percent of her basic salary (P41, 695.00 per month) as retainer allowance, bringing her monthly salary to P45, 864.50 plus other perks in allowances.
At the end of her contract, Mgadla will be entitled to a gratuity paid at the rate of 25 percent of her basic salary.
According to records in the possession of this publication, obtained during the course of its investigations, the university Governing Council on the 15 June 2017 resolved that Management should approach the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security with a view of securing a secondment of a government employee to BUAN to fill the post of Deputy Vice Chancellor – Finance and Administration.
However, at a Council meeting on August 21st, 2017, the university management informed the Governing Council that the secondment as envisaged would not be possible as the Ministry did not have sufficient capacity to allow a suitably qualified candidate to be seconded and as a result of the information it had received from the Ministry, management ‘‘decided to headhunt for a suitable candidate.” Information gathered from the ministry however reveals that there is no record reflecting a request by BUAN to deploy someone from the ministry to the university.
While the BUAN recruitment policy maintains that all vacant positions are to be advertised and fairly competed for, Mgadla’s position was never advertised as she was headhunted from home after being retrenched by Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) in April 2017. She was interviewed by Professor Khumoetsile Mmolawa and Professor Rejoice Tsheko on 13 October 2017.
Initially, Mgadla was appointed on a contract of six (6) months but before the contract lapsed, she was awarded a five year contract after Professor Tsheko wrote to the Chairperson of the Governing Council emphasising how urgent it was to appoint Mgadla. ‘‘Furthermore, given the urgency to appoint the Deputy Vice Chancellor- Finance and Administration we refer the matter to you for consideration and decision, following which the matter can be ratified during the next sitting of Council’’, Tsheko wrote in his memo on 24 October 2017.
A month later, on 28 November 2017, the Governing Council acceded to Tsheko’s recommendation and approved Mgadla’s appointment despite the fact that apart from not having a Master’s Degree, she does not have the requisite five (5) years’ experience at Executive Management level as per the job specification.
Mgadla was previously employed by the Botswana Power Corporation (BCP) where she served as Chief Financial Officer until she was retrenched in April 2017. This publication has learned that Mgadla did not go through the rigorous Psychometric tests; a compulsory requirement under the BUAN recruitment policy. While Mgadla seems to have had it easy, her colleagues are having it tough as the university last month advertised in local media that the positions of Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor- Academic Affairs and Research and all Director level positions are currently being advertised externally as at least seven employees who had applied internally have been rejected for various reasons such as not meeting academic qualifications or lack of managerial experience.
In addition to Mgadla, another employee whose position was not advertised is Mpho Gabegwe who was brought in as the Secretary to Council/Legal Advisor. She has also been offered a five (5) year contract effective 1st January 2018 with a salary of P500 340.00 per annum and five percent of her basic salary as retainer allowance.
Responding to our questions, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Khumoetsile Mmolawa said the positions of the Deputy Vice Chancellor and that of Secretary to Council are statutory positions whose appointments were made by the University Council. This publication is in possession of the said Statutes and they indicate that ‘‘there shall be an Appointments, Promotions and Nominations Committee of Council which shall consist of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellors, three other members of Council, one external human resources expert appointed by Council, Head of Human Resources, three Professors and two Deans’’.
The statute instructs that the Committee ‘‘shall recommend appointment of Secretary to Council in terms of Section 20 of the Act’’. The aforementioned full Committee never met to recommend the appointment of Gabegwe. For the appointment or removal of Deputy Vice Chancellor the Statutes state ‘‘there shall be a Joint Committee of Council and the Senate which shall make recommendations to Council in respect of the appointment or removal of Deputy Vice-Chancellor’’ but in the case of Mgadla, there is no record to prove the committees ever met. Mgadla refused to field our questions as she insisted the Vice Chancellor and Head of Communications were the only officials sanctioned to talk to the media on her behalf.