Gov’t, BoNU set for crunch talks over risk allowance

  • Covid-19 cases amongst nurses
  • Risk allowance talks to conclude on November 30


The Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) and Botswana nurses Union (BoNU) are expected to conclude talks over payments of risk allowances for nurses and doctors dealing with Covid-19 before the end of this month, The Botswana Gazette can reveal.

BoNU president Obonolo Rahube confirmed that there was a meeting scheduled for November 30, at which a decision on risk allowances will be taken by government.

“We will be in a better position to comment on the risk allowance after the meeting,” he told this publication. “At the moment, nothing has changed but we continue in our line of work of saving lives.”

Meanwhile, as previously reported by The Botswana Gazette, the number of doctors and nurses testing positive for Covid-19 continues to increase rapidly. To date, more than 50 nurses have tested positive. Rahube would however not be brought into discussing numbers of nurses and doctors that have tested positive.

In a previous interview in October, he explained that the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for frontline workers was not consistent. “Government had agreed in principle to provide nurses with PPEs but to this point there hasn’t been a constant supply of PPEs,” he said.

“There are also a number of substantive issues that have not been resolved. Government has not provided these nurses with any form of psychosocial support but people need counselling. The Botswana Nurses Union also wants risk allowances for its members but the government is dragging its feet on this issue.”

DPSM director, Goitseone Mosalakatane, also previously told Parliament’s Public Committee on the Public Service and its Management that the issue of risk allowance was work in progress. “The biggest challenge is that relevant authorities, including the recognized unions, are still in negotiations,” Mosalakatane said.

But there are also issues of agreed definitions of terms and phrases that have entered daily diction since the advent of COVID-19. For instance, DPSM raises definition of “frontline workers” as being critical to discussions in a letter dated 10 August 2020 to the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions that is better known its acronym of BOFEPUSU.

Besides, nurses and doctors, more than 100 other frontline workers have already tested positive for Covid-19.