- Over 40 military nurses have resigned and more could follow
- Leading applicant dispatched to SADC Mission in Mozambique
As the case between the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and disgruntled army nurses over termination of their de-link salary scales by the government, more than 40 nurses have resigned and more could follow, The Business Weekly & Review has established.
The first notices were filed in October 2021 because the BDF takes three months to approve resignations. Sources say the cohort of 40 immediately found employment elsewhere – some at the Ministry of Health, others at private hospitals. They were a part of a total 52 nurses who are suing the BDF in a protracted case that was filed with the Francistown High Court in 2020.
When proceedings began as scheduled on 21 February 2022, the Attorney General (for the BDF) raised a technical objection that only one of the 52 plaintiffs had signed the power of attorney, meaning the case involved the one person. However, Justice Lot Moroka turned the objection down on 24 March, saying it had never been raised all along.
But progress in the case was affected when the BDF dispatched the leading applicant to SAMIM, the SADC Mission in Mozambique fighting Islamic insurgents in the Cabo Delgado province of the country on the southeast coast of the Indian Ocean, as a part of the second contingent of five nurses and two doctors from Botswana.
The nurses are represented by Tshekiso Ditiro & Jani Legal Practice in the matter. They argue that the unilateral decision to terminate de-linking of their salaries was a breach of their contracts done in bad faith and want the de-linking declared a nullity. Court records show that with introduction of de-linking in 2011, progression for both military and civilian nurses was to be made uniform. In terms of the new structure, army nurses were to spend one year on C4/C3 as registered nurses and another two years on C2 as senior registered nurses.
Moreover, they were to spend two years on salary scale C1 as principal registered nurses and two years as chief registered nurses on D4 salary scale. With all these structures in place, progression of nurses was to be automatic as opposed to merit-based as is currently the case. However, sources say the structure was terminated in 2019 and nurses retained on a rank-based salary structure. The trial is scheduled 21 to 24 November 2022.