Batshu promises to resolve Okavango Delta campsite workers’ problems
The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu has promised to resolve problems bedeviling campsite workers in the Okavango Delta, if any.
This came after Member of Parliament (MP) for Okavango, Bagalatia Arone asked a question in parliament about the poor working conditions of campsite workers at the Okavango Delta.
Among many grievances, the employees reported through the office of the MP that they were made to do menial jobs they are not employed for and getting paid peanuts at the end of the month.
In addition to that, Arone said, they are denied the right to visit their lover and families, leaving broken relationships on the way. “The other issue concerns those who are on HIV therapy.
Their managers bring the medications for them from Maun and they say it is unfair because they do not have confidentiality.
The issue of HIV requires that they frequently visit the doctor so that their CD4 counts are checked,” said the legislator.
He said for them to travel for checkups, they are charged P385 per trip and that at the end of the month, they have no take home salaries.
“They do not get support from the campsite owners and they are frequently referred to as kaffir. This people stay in the bush for over six (6) months and are not allowed to visit their families,” he said.
Responding to the allegations, Batshu said he will await the latest labour inspections in the Okavango Delta which commenced on the 8th of July 2013 until the 19th of July 2013.
“I am not aware of any poor working conditions for safari workers in the tourism industry in the Ngamiland. We hope the allegations will be dealt with, if any.
Batshu said previous labour inspections showed that the area has its own peculiarity that makes it different from other areas.
“The Employment Act requires employers to give employees 24 hours of rest but that is impossible because the camps in the delta are difficult to access because of the terrain. Therefore employees rely on the employers for transport in and out of the camps,” he said.
The minister told parliament that they are in dialogue with the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) with the view to map a long lasting solution to the situation in the area.
Next month, the ministry will hold workshops in the area where the rights of employers and employees will discussed on points of the law.