Foreign medical personnel with bogus qualifications (Mmegi, 20/10) - With a lot of medical practitioners and nurses resigning en masse to seek greener pastures in Western Europe,health authorities and governments major employing body cannot rule out the infiltration of quacks and under-qualified practitioners into the countrys health system. The revelations come in the wake of the growing number of medical practitioners who have been found to be in possession of bogus qualifications. "Dr" Mark Daltone Rachilo, who was engaged as a voluntary doctor at the countrys prime referral hospital, Princess Marina Hospital, is the last one to be exposed as a quack. "In the last two to three years, the Botswana government, through the Directorate of Public Service Management, entered into contracts with a number of international recruiting agencies. They also do the pre-selection, short listing and thereafter forward the shortlist for review by the Directorate of Public Service Management and respective ministries," says DPSMs spokesperson, Mokane Pelaelo. Although Pelaelo says the selection panel insists on original copies to validate the authenticity where certificates and references are issued certified. The Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Patson Mazonde, buttressed this assertion: "It is at times difficult to determine this until the officer has been subjected to practice observation. "This however, does not go down well with scores of medical practitioners who feel the Medical and Dental Council can do more to control who is allowed into the medical delivery system. "It should not be difficult to establish with reputable medical schools the authenticity of the certificates submitted by applicants given the availability of qualifications authorities across the world", they say.
What practitioners say they find bizarre is that doctors are mostly discovered to be bogus on the job when a lot of harm would have been done to patients."We know some who even serve their contracts up to the end with very suspicious credentials. Some health officials go to the extent of blaming the governments bilateral relations with the source countries and who - come as a part of the package. "We doubt if some of these are ever scrutinised." It is the punishment that is meted out to those found that many find wanting. According to Pelaelo, whenever one of the the applicants papers, they can still not rule out the infiltration of the system by imposters. "Given the complexity and intensity of the crime, the possibility of the original and seemingly authentic document, being bogus can never be ruled out," she said. Pelaelo goes on to state that they exploit personal connections and friends at institutions and work places is found to be in possession of bogus qualifications, the worst that can happen to the fraudster is termination of contract.
Chinese workers probed (Mmegi/The Reporter, Gaborone, 20/10) - Chinese workers who come to Botswana pay thousands of Pula to migrate from their country in search of greener pastures.A number of agents throughout that country have set-up consultancies to offer services to Chinese nationals who desire to work abroad.It has emerged in court documents that one such Chinese paid about P21 000 (36000RMB) to recruit agents to ensure that she was brought to Botswana. The president of the Industrial Court recently urged the Labour Department to investigate what looked like a "Chinese racket" on how a lot of them were brought into this country. Information regarding how Chinese workers are brought here came to light recently at the Industrial Court when, a Chinese employee, Bin Quin Lin took her employer Zheng Ming Knitwear (Pty) Ltd to court for failing to pay her wage arrears for five months amounting to about US $ 2 500 (about P12 700). She further wanted her former employer to pay for a one way ticket back to her homeland, in addition to returning her passport and resident permits. The managing director of Zheng Ming Knitwear, Lin Chen Feng, told the Industrial court that the money was not paid to his company but to three agents who put the deal together adding that his company was not prepared to pay for its employees air ticket to China "since she has not finished the contract we cannot provide a ticket for her.." In his judgement of the case the President of the Industrial Court,Judge Elijah Legwaila sitting with to assessors, noted that "it is inexplicable that Mr. Lin does not appear to see anything wrong in withholding the applicants salary for five months but is concerned that by seeking to return home the applicant is violating her contract of employment.It is clear that there is a racket going on which the Department of Labour should seriously look into". Judge Legwaila observed that it appears Chinese nationals pay large sums of money to recruiting agents who send them abroad with all sorts of promises. The respondent company and its director were ordered to facilitate its former employees departure by appearing before the Immigration authorites.
Police officer fired for being a Zimbabwean (Daily News Online, 19/10) - The Botswana Police Service (BPS) has to tighten its recruitment procedures to guard against foreigners cheating their way into the service after it discovered that one of its constables was not a Motswana. Meshack Geneva Ernest, 33, a Zimbabwean served as a constable attached to the Special Support Group for more than six years without being discovered that he was a foreigner. Senior staff administration officer at the police headquarters, Botsile Lechiile told BOPA that Ernest was dismissed last September because the BPS does not enlist non-Batswana. " We have learnt a lesson from this mistake and we will have to tighten our recruitment procedures to guard against such cases in future," Lechiile said. She said at the time Ernest was employed there was no reason to doubt that he was not a Motswana because he had all the required documents like a Botswana passport, national identity card and school certificates. "He had already beaten the system because he came to Botswana at the age of 11 and did his education here from primary up to secondary level," she said. Lechiile said this was the first case the BPS has come across but did not rule out possibilities that it might be having other non-Batswana who also managed to beat the system to be enlisted into the police service. Asked what action was taken against Ernest, Lechiile said he was charged with a criminal offence and convicted for uttering false information under false pretences, which resulted in his dismissal from the service.
Government to spend P43 million on holding facility for migrants (Daily News Online, 18/10) - Labour and home affairs minister Daniel Kwelagobe says the government has decided to build a P43 million separate holding prison for illegal immigrants because prisons are over-crowded. The minister cited Kanye Prison, which was meant to accommodate 129 prisoners but because of the demand, it has housed over 300 inmates, which is unhealthy. Addressing a kgotla meeting in Kanye, Kwelagobe appealed to Batswana to help government fight the influx of illegal immigrants. He said foreigners, mostly from some neighbouring countries, flocked to Botswana because the country's economy was still in a better shape compared to others in the region, but emphasised that the influx was unhealthy as locals were disadvantaged. He said the country's economy was small and would also suffer because the infrastructural development was meant for a small population. The minister, however, blamed the problem on Batswana who hide illegal immigrants when immigration and police officers mount clean-up operations. He said in the process, illegal immigrants, who escape the dragnet, committed crime. Kwelagobe said the money spent on illegal immigrants upkeep could be used to build schools or invested in subsidy schemes like Small Medium Micro Enterprises (SMME). He said besides the P43 million for the construction of the illegals prison, about P16, 5 million had been allocated for maintenance. He said government was forced to spend so much money on prisoners because it did not want to violate their rights. He said international organisations would put pressure on the government if it ever violated prisoners's rights. Meanwhile, Minister Kwelagobe has appealed to chiefs to opt for lashes for minor offences to avoid congestion in prisons. He said Batswana should look into the possibility of re-instating corporal punishment so government could save funds being spent on maintaining criminals in jails.
Namibian fishmongers warned for trading in Botswana (Pana, Gaborone, 11/10) - Botswana has warned Namibian fish mongers to stop selling fish in the border town of Kasane and surrounding areas until bi-lateral arrangements have been put in place. The Kasane local authority by-law officer, Edison Bohule, and officials from immigration department issued the warning. Radio Botswana reported Wednesday that the fishmongers have been selling fish on the Botswana side of the border without hawkers' licences. The Namibians have also been entering Botswana without following the right immigration procedures. The radio quoted Bohule as saying that only Batswana had the right to hawk inside the country until the two neighbours reach an agreement on cross-border fish trading. Namibian fishmongers have found a ready market in Botswana after authorities in Gaborone banned fishing activities in all the country's dams.
This page was last updated on 22 December 2000.