Paper 13 final
CBNRM Support Programme
Occasional Paper No. 13
Labour Laws and
Community Based Organisations in
Kutlwane Modiakgotla and Sue Sainsbury
Hivos / SNV Netherlands Development Organisation Botswana
2003. IUCN – The World Conservation Union
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Kutlwane Modiakgotla and Sue Sainsbury. 2003. Labour laws and
Community Based Organisations in Botswana.
Printing and Publishing Company Botswana, Gaborone, 2002
The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of IUCN, Hivos
Most community organisations involved in CBNRM in Botswana are legally registered trusts. This
means amongst other things that the Botswana labour laws (The Employment Act) apply. The
“law” is not always easy to read and the Act and Regulations are generally difficult to
understand. With this in mind the CBNRM Support Programme commissioned a study to explain
the relevant labour legislation to the communities.
Kutlwane Modiakgotla and Sue Sainsbury made the attempt in the report that follows. They did
not only explain the most relevant clauses of the Employment Act but used real-life examples
and 3 case studies to make the legislation easier to understand and apply. While doing this they
give advice to CBOs on how to improve the management of their projects and business ventures.
For instance sample guidelines for hiring employees, sample job descriptions, sample Conditions
of Service and sample contracts are annexed to the paper. We hope that the advice will
contribute towards improved implementation of CBNRM in Botswana.
I would like to thank Kutlwane and Sue for a job well done and I am proud to publish their work
in the CBNRM Support Programme Occasional Paper Series.
This document is the thirteenth in the Series of the IUCN/SNV CBNRM Support Programme. The
papers intend to promote CBNRM in Botswana by providing information and documenting
experiences and lessons learnt during the implementation of the concept by the practitioners in
this field. Relevant CBNRM related information assists in bringing together all stakeholders who
have an interest in what the concept stands for: social and economic empowerment of rural
communities, and natural resources conservation. The Series is aimed therefore at all
practitioners who work with CBNRM in Botswana, and is intended to provide information that
assists in successfully applying the concept. This paper as well as all previous issues is also
available on the web site of the CBNRM Support Programme: http://www.cbnrm.bw
IUCN – The World Conservation Union
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across some 136 countries. As a Union, IUCN seeks to influence, encourage and assist societies
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of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. A central secretariat co-ordinates
the IUCN Programme and serves the Union membership, representing their views on the world
stage and providing them with the strategies, services, scientific knowledge and technical
support they need to achieve their goals. Through its six commissions, IUCN draws together over
6 000 expert volunteers in project teams and action groups, focusing in particular on species and
biodiversity conservation and the management of habitats and natural resources. IUCN has been
operating in Botswana since 1984, when IUCN was invited to assist the Government in the
preparation of the Botswana National Conservation Strategy. The IUCN Botswana Office was
established in 1991. Since then, the IUCN Botswana Programme has been involved in drafting
environmental policies, strategies and legislation; formulating management plans; identifying the
environmental interests and needs of the business sector; as well as providing support and
capacity building to NGOs and CBOs in the country. For more information, visit the Internet on
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation strengthens local government and non-
governmental development organisations, with a view of making a sustainable contribution to the
structural alleviation of poverty in rural areas in developing countries. It deploys skilled
professionals for this purpose. Over 700 Dutch and local experts are currently involved in the
transfer and exchange of knowledge, skills and technology. SNV's 26 field offices are active in 28
countries throughout Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. SNV Botswana has been operating
since 1978, building up experience in land-use planning, rural development and community
mobilisation. The organisation works in conjunction with local organisations and Government to
reach its target populations of poor rural women and marginalised minority groups in western
Botswana, which are mainly the Basarwa (San or Bushmen). For more information, visit the
IUCN/SNV CBNRM Support Programme
The Community-based Natural Resource Management Support Programme is a joint initiative by
SNV Botswana and IUCN Botswana. It is built on SNV's experience in CBNRM pilot projects at
the grassroots level and on IUCN's expertise in information sharing, documentation of project
approaches, and establishing dialogue between Non-Governmental Organisations, Government
and private sector on a national, regional and international level. The three main objectives of the
programme are: 1) to establish a focal point for CBNRM in Botswana through support to the
Botswana Community-based Organisation Network (BOCOBONET). 2) To make an inventory of
and further develop CBNRM project approaches and best practices, and disseminate knowledge
regarding implementation of CBNRM activities through the provision of information and technical
advice to CBNRM actors. 3) To improve the dialogue and the co-ordination between CBOs, NGOs,
private sector and Government. For more information, visit the Internet on
Table of Contents
Labour Issues in Community Based Organisations in Botswana
Legal Status of a Trust in relation to Labour Laws of Botswana
Effective “Employment Packages” that could be used by a Trust
A Summary of the Labour Laws of Botswana
The Conduct of a Disciplinary Proceedings
Case studies and annexes
Sample Job Description from Gudigwa Camp - Camp Manager
Sample Job Description from Gudigwa Camp - Driver
List of Regional and District Labour Offices
Sample Conditions of Service that would form Part of the Contract
Summary in Setswana / Khutswafatso ka Setswana
The Aim of this Study
The aim of this publication is to provide clarification on the Botswana Labour Laws to
community organisations (in nearly all cases legally registered trusts) most of which are involved
in Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM). In general these trusts are
village-based and non-profit organisations, governed and managed by largely unskilled people.
They generally find it very hard to understand how the Labour Laws affect their operation.
Most community trusts have limited (and very fluctuating) income while the demands on that
income are enormous. They have to finance their organisation (to ensure sustainable
management of the natural resources), provide community employment, provide community
services and in general accumulate wealth “for the benefit of the community”. In these particular
circumstances, community trusts employ people.
The income in most cases is not steady. Income is derived from temporary donor contributions
(project funds) and seasonal tourism activities (for example, in the six month hunting period.) In
these cases trusts want to maximise employment (a community benefit) without necessarily
being able to offer permanent employment and maximum employment benefits.
This paper seeks to explain the Employment Act of Botswana (usually referred to as the Labour
Laws) and also offers advice on interpreting those laws from a community organisation
perspective. Sample job descriptions and employment contracts are given which will help these
organisations to formulate their own or adapt the examples given.
Three case studies were undertaken to illustrate different approaches from different trusts.
The first, Gaing-o Community Trust is involved in an enterprise (operation and maintenance of
campsites) and employs a small number of people. They are working towards getting their
employment documents and policies to confirm to Botswana Labour Laws and good business
practices. They have encountered some employment-related problems along the way. The
Bukakhwe Cultural Conservation Trust, which owns Gudigwa Camp is the second case study.
This trust was only registered in September 2000 and had NGO and private consultant
assistance to formulate their employment policy. Their Policy and Procedures Manual
encompassed current thinking on CBNRM and includes the fairly revolutionary concept of
separating trust ownership of an enterprise from management of that enterprise. Case study 3,
the Okavango Community Trust is one of the oldest trusts in Botswana. Its membership covers
five villages and services about 7000 people. It was selected as an example of an older trust with
a joint venture partner. It is involved in a number of enterprises as well as providing employees
to camps in its two concession areas. Its Board of Trustees is intimately involved in labour
relations with these employees on a day to day basis and this is seen to create many problems.
About the Authors
Kutlwano Modiakgotla is a citizen who first began work in the Labour Department as a Clerical
Assistant in 1975. By the time she left in 2000 she was the District labour Officer. During her
twenty-five years working for the Labour Department, she gained vast experience and a
sympathetic realisation of how difficult to understand the Labour Laws can be. She is now
working as a private consultant in Maun – assisting with company formation, obtaining work
and residence permits, trading licences, and giving advice on Labour Laws.
Sue Sainsbury came to Botswana in 1998 with a wealth of experience in business, travel and
tourism fields. She worked for Okavango Polers Trust from 1998 until the end of 2002. She now
works as a private consultant in Maun – helping communities and citizen entrepreneurs to
research, establish and develop businesses. Her particular interest lies in helping CBOs to
analyse their business needs and establish business operating systems. She is currently on
contract to Conservation International where she is working with the community of Gudigwa and
Labour Issues in Community Based Organisations in Botswana
This chapter aims to highlight the most salient issues relating to Botswana Labour Laws relevant to
the operations of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), according the experiences of the
authors. An attempt is made hereby to offer practical advice on interpreting those laws from a
community organisation perspective.
Legal Status of a Trust in relation to Labour Laws of Botswana
Community trusts have been operating for many years in Botswana and in this time it has been
seen that they all seem to make similar mistakes in relation to their handling of employment.
• Selection of employees based on family relationships, friendships and geographical location
rather than on skill and suitability for the job;
• A reluctance to deal seriously with bad behaviour and ineptitude of employees;
• A tendency to overpay or underpay based on perceptions of what a job is worth rather than
• A lack of planning of employee numbers based on seasonal variation and how busy the
A lot of these problems stem from lack of business experience and also from the perception that
jobs are a right granted to trust members. This has been perpetuated by the fact that many
trusts receive their incomes from concession areas and/or grants so they do not have to work for
this money. If they start an enterprise and it is not successful, they may not worry too much if
their money just keeps coming in anyway. The most successful community trusts in Botswana
have been those who have started a business and have only received income from that business.
There is a direct link between the amount of work done and the income. It has forced them to
manage their business, including staffing levels and wages paid.
The issues raised in this paper will hopefully assist trusts in understanding and obeying the
Labour Laws of Botswana and also encourage them to view their businesses as money-making
enterprises that must be managed efficiently to keep them viable. This may involve hiring less
staff, paying them less money or only employing people when there is work available.
Legal Status of a CBO in relation to Labour Laws
A community trust is exactly the same as any other employer and must conform to the Labour
Laws of Botswana. Each trust must act as a responsible employer and adopt the use of:
One of the more serious dilemmas facing CBOs operating their own business is the balance
between supporting the community and running a viable business. Many difficult decisions will
need to be made by the management and the Board of Trustees to ensure that all employment
issues are dealt with fairly but also under sound business principles.
Who is Responsible for the Workers?
Probably the first thing any CBO will need to decide is the division of authority between
managers and Boards of Trustees. Experience has shown that in many CBO enterprises there is
a lot of confusion and conflict because the areas of responsibility are not clearly defined. In order
to manage a business effectively, the manager must have authority over the workers. In many
cases we have seen board members interfering in the day to day disciplining of the employees.
This undermines the authority of the management team and confuses the workers. Community
members need to make a business plan that clearly shows the chain of command and
organisational structure of the business. The following is an example of an organisational
structure developed by a trust involved in a tourism enterprise.
Example of an organisational structure developed by a trust involved in a tourism
Enterprise Management Committee (7 members)
Assistant Manager (Guest Relations) Assistant Manager (Administration)
Cooks Waiters Guides Entertainers Driver Maintenance Cleaners Watchmen
In the above example, this trust has established an Enterprise Management Committee (EMC) to
run their business for them. They have recognised that they don’t have the experience or
expertise to run such an enterprise on their own and have enlisted advice from experienced local
businessmen and an NGO. They retain their link with the business and the vital flow of
information between the business and the community by having two Trustees on this committee.
This system requires the community to relinquish their hands-on, day to day association with
the business. It therefore must also include provision for continuing financial education and
business training for the community members so they can eventually play a bigger role in the
You will notice that the arrows between the structures go both ways, allowing input to and from
each level. There is no direct link between the workers and the board but there is a link between
the management and the Enterprise Management Committee. Two board members are on this
committee and, in practice, would be the first consulted in matters of labour disputes, etc.
Number of Jobs created
Most CBOs rush into providing as many jobs as they can - at attractive rates of pay. Obviously,
one of the many benefits of a community owning their own business is the creation of jobs. But
such jobs must be able to be supported by the income. Also, the jobs created should only be
those reasonably expected for a similar type of business in the private sector. It is not good
business practice to employ an excessive number of people regardless of cost and the ultimate
Seasonal variation must also be taken into account. This is especially true for businesses
involved in tourism, hunting and associated industries. When your business is busy, you can
hire the maximum number of employees but when it is not busy you should only retain those
staff who are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. This can be done by giving
different contracts of employment. Some might have a twelve month contract whilst others might
only be hired for six or eight months.
Another example is a restaurant or bar. The best practice is to hire the people you need to run
the operation but when you can see it is going to be busy, you hire casuals. For example, you
own a restaurant and you have a booking for a large group. You might hire an extra person to
help in the kitchen that night, two more waiters and maybe an extra cleaner for the next day.
These people would only be casuals and would be paid for the days or hours they have worked.
You would not have to employ these people permanently and pay their wages when you are not
Similarly, some CBOs in a joint venture partnership insist on the creation of an excessive
number of jobs. This creates huge problems for the management of the business (financially and
logistically) and ultimately teaches people that they don’t have to work hard to get paid. CBOs
need to realise that job creation is only one of the objects of the trust. Perhaps the money saved
on unnecessary employment could be directed into worthwhile community projects that will
benefit a larger number of people – especially those less educated people who do not have access
Joint venture partners must be considered as partners – not employers or benefactors who
should be milked for all they can give. More equitable contracts and on-going training in
financial understanding for the community members should help to change some of the present
Recruitment and Selection of Employees
Each Community Based Organisation (CBO) should publicly affirm that it believes in equal
opportunities for all its members – regardless of tribe, gender or family associations. There is a
need for each CBO to formulate a document outlining agreed guidelines on employing staff for
that particular CBO. This document would try to ensure the even distribution of jobs among
families, wards, church groups, and even political groups if that is an issue within that
It is highly recommended that the CBO conduct a workshop with the community to formulate
these guidelines (perhaps with the assistance of an NGO). They need to discuss:
1. What are the particular issues within their community in regards to hiring employees?
2. Are the jobs / Board positions / decision-making distributed evenly?
3. Is there gender equality or at least representation of women? and
4. The issue of “conflict of interest” needs to be explained and understood.
There needs to be community agreement on:
• What provisions are made for non-literate applicants?
• Who is on the interviewing committee?
• How are the community involved / informed?
• Is this a position where the rate of pay is dictated by the Government?
• What do other similar businesses pay?
3. What type of employment will be the best?
• Is it feasible to have the community vote on appointments?
• Who will monitor the selection process (kgosi, NGO, other?)
If a member of the selection committee is related to an applicant or has a vested interest in their
appointment, this must be declared. This might disqualify that committee member from
participating in that particular appointment but the other committee members may also feel that
it is not a problem. The declaration should be noted in the minutes of the meeting. This brings
up the point that all such meetings should be recorded and those minutes should be available
for other community members and interested parties to see.
Sample of guidelines for hiring staff for a camp
The example used here is derived from the enterprise initiated by the Bukakhwe Cultural
Conservation Trust (BCCT). BCCT is a community organisation and will give priority to members
of the community when employment opportunities arise (for the organisational structure of
BCCT, see the previous box). The way this is done is as follows:
• All jobs will be advertised through a notice in the Kgotla and at the Trust Office. Present staff
will also be told when there is a vacancy;
• Written applications will be received by the Camp Manager who will give them to the Board
• The Trust Board will interview candidates and select a maximum of three that they
• The Camp Management Team consisting of the Camp Manager and two Assistant Managers
• The Enterprise Management Committee (EMC) actually hires employees but it may delegate
• All appointments to the position of Camp Manager will be made by the EMC. Short-listed
candidates identified by the EMC will be interviewed by the BCCT Board who will forward
• The Management Team will have authority to engage or contract temporary casual labourers
or skilled technicians so long as such appointments are within their approved budget.
When choosing the best candidate for the job, the following must be taken into consideration:
• Balance of staff from the village(s) – it is important that all community members feel they are
being fairly represented by the Board. Therefore, it would not be desirable to have an
imbalance in the number of employees from each ward, family, or church, etc.
Rates of Pay
There are only a few occupations that have clearly stated minimum rates of pay determined by
the Minimum Wages Advisory Board. These minimum wages are for unskilled employees. You are
not allowed to pay less than the minimum wage for those jobs. For skilled workers, wages are
negotiated between employer and employee.
The current minimum wages are (with effect from the 1st April 2002):
Manufacturing; service and repair trades; building;
construction; exploration and quarrying industries; hotel
catering and entertainment trades; garage; motor trade
and road transport; wholesale distributive trade.
Night watchmen in the above trades/industries
How to calculate wages based on the minimum rate?
An employee in the tourism sector works six days a week, 8 hours a day, therefore a month’s
wages are based on working 26 days a month.
P2.40 (per hour) times 8 (hours per day) times 26 (days per month): P2.40 X 8 X 26 = P499.20
per month. The daily wage would be P2.40 X 8 = P19.20 per day.
It is best to start at or near the minimum wage for most positions. This way, there is always
opportunity to increase wages later or to reward good work or to give a bonus at the end of a
It is not a legal requirement to increase wages every year. Good business practice is to look at
how profitable the business has been the previous year and also compare your wages with others
in the same industry. Each employee’s performance should also be taken into consideration
when increasing wages or allocating bonuses. Those employees who are hardworking and reliable
should have their efforts recognised.
Be very careful with the payment of wages to night watchmen. You will see that there is a
minimum wage for this job. You must also be aware that after the first eight hours these night
watchmen must be paid overtime (at 1.5 times their normal rate) and that they are not allowed to
work more than twelve hours in any one day.
Workers cannot give away their Rights
This brings up another interesting point. Even if your employees agree to work for less money
and to do more hours, you may still be liable to compensate them for this. The Labour Laws are
made to protect the worker and he or she cannot make agreements that contravene these rights.
You might also find that although a worker agrees to certain conditions or rates of pay, when a
Labour Officer visits, they might still complain to that officer. It is better to make sure everything
is done “by the book” from the beginning.
Every employee should be given a:
• Clear and detailed job description; and
The employer must keep an accurate register of wages paid. Each worker must sign for their pay
(or use thumbprint). Try not to have any alterations or erasures on your pay sheets as these are
a legal record. Keep the pay sheets in a special file. The Law doesn’t say how long they must be
kept, just that they must be there for examination by a Labour Officer.
Every job in your business or organisation must have a detailed job description. It should
These duties should be quite detailed. For instance, don’t just put “administration”. Instead list
• Maintenance of roster, leave records;
This way, the job description can be used as a teaching aid and checklist when the employee first
begins the job as well as a valuable resource if there is any dispute about an employee’s
Most job descriptions in the tourism industry contain a generic clause along the lines of “and any
other duties that the management requests”. This covers those times when you might ask a
camp-hand, for instance, to assist the driver or a cook to assist a laundry worker. Only in a very
big organisation can a worker be expected to do only their job. In a small organisation and
especially in a CBO, it would be very sad to hear a worker say “that’s not my job”. The spirit of
The job description must be clearly explained and translated into Setswana or any other
language the employee is most comfortable with at the time of signing the contract. When the
contract and job description is explained, have a witness present who understands all languages
being used and who will sign the documents as a witness.
See annexes 1 and 2 for examples of detailed job descriptions.
Effective “Employment Packages” that could be used by a Trust
Many CBOs receive seasonal income (especially those involved in the hunting and tourism
industry) and their employment plan must reflect this. For example, in a tourism business more
staff may be required during the busy season and less when things are quiet. In this case, it
would be better to have a basic workforce and hire casuals or temporary workers as needed. Or
Paying workers a higher income during a high season and a low income during a low season.
This would have to be carefully planned or it could contravene provisions of the Law or cost the
employer his profits because the lowest income an employer can pay at any point in time is the
minimum wage. It might work well if all the employees are paid by the hour. During the low
season when their services are least needed, workers can work less hours e.g. 2-3 hours a day
depending on their job. During the high season and at busy times, they could earn a lot more –
even overtime. This is obviously not an option if the business is located far from the village e.g. in
Engaging temporary workers specifically for the busy season will be the best thing to do. These
workers can be contracted for the number of months their services will be needed, with room for
extension should the need arise. A certain number of permanent staff would be employed for an
unspecified period (permanent) contract. These would be the few who would be left on site once
On the other hand, part-time workers are not always ideal in this type of industry, because these
are people you call in when you need them, normally at a higher rate than for ordinary workers.
Part-time workers do not have a contract of employment, let alone conditions of service, and
supervising them to make sure that standards are maintained and clients are satisfied would be
almost impossible. Training will also be an issue here. Would you train part-time staff and then
run the risk of them seeking employment elsewhere?
Part-time / Casual Employment
The important thing to know about casual workers is that they must be employed for less than
three days (or 22 1/2 hours) per week and for a period of less than 12 months. After 12 months
they automatically become permanent.
Some employers try to keep employees as casual workers, believing that they are then not
required to give the employees leave entitlements. This is not true.
This does not seem to be a concept recognised in the Employment Act although it is well known
in Botswana as “piece work”. The Labour Department regards temporary workers as any other
worker except that they are employed for a particular job – not for a time period.
It is extremely important with all categories to clearly state (in writing) the exact conditions under
which the employee is hired. This must be made very clear to each employee as they are hired
and you should have witnesses present.
If your work force is more than about ten people, it would be a good idea to encourage the
workers to elect a Staff Representative. This person must be made completely familiar with the
contracts, conditions of service and job descriptions. He or she will help to explain these to the
workers and also approach the management with any staff issues or grievances.
• Workers need to know the chain of command;
• What to do if they have a query about their pay, etc.?
Staff Representatives are not paid for this job and are not in control of the workers so it is not a
good idea to label them as “Staff Managers”. This title can lead to confusion about their actual
Labour Department as a Resource
In our experience, the Department of Labour is always willing to visit workplaces and answer any
queries, from management or staff. They do not take sides and should be used as an information
They can be contacted at any time with any queries or requests for clarification. The contact
details of Regional and District Offices of Labour Department are listed in annex 3.
Contracts can be verbal, implied or written. It is recommended that a written contract be
prepared, even for illiterate employees. In such cases it is obviously essential to follow the
guidelines mentioned above about translation and witnesses.
Once the contract is prepared, take it to your nearest Labour Department office and get them to
check it for you. They will inform you if your stated conditions conform to the Labour Laws of
See sample contracts in annex 4 and annex 6.
Employment of Non-citizens
Many CBOs hire a manager who comes from outside Botswana. This person will require a Work
Permit from the Labour Department and a Residence Permit from the Immigration Department.
These should be applied for when the person is still outside Botswana. There is a lot of
paperwork involved and it is usually better for the CBO to pay a consultant to obtain these
permits. This will cost about P1500.00.
The manager’s contract usually states that should he or she leave during the first twelve months
of employment, the fee for obtaining the work permit on their behalf must be repaid. It can take
quite a long time to obtain a work permit for an expatriate. If your need is urgent, you can apply
for an emergency work permit, which may allow employment for six months. It is not renewable
and if the need is still there, the employer must apply for a normal work permit for that
The labour Department will need to be convinced that the person you wish to hire has the right
qualifications and experience for the job and that no suitable local candidate is available for that
position. He or she must also be involved in the training of a citizen understudy for that position.
• A curriculum Vitae (work experience and education record);
• Certified copies of all diplomas, certificates, etc.
• A letter supporting the application, justifying the need to hire an expatriate for the position
and explaining what training or understudy appointment will be undertaken to ensure the
• A fee of approximately P1500.00.
A contract should state how long the probationary period is. It can be a maximum of six months.
Many trusts adopt a three months probationary period.
The probation period is designed to give the employer and the employee the chance to see how
they are suited to the job and how the job suits them. Some people pay a smaller wage when the
worker is on probation and then increase it when they are confirmed as permanent. This is not a
Another area where CBOs tend to be very weak is that once a person has a job with a CBO, the
management or the Boards of Trustees are very reluctant to terminate their employment. A CBO
must make business decisions. Although in many cases, their income is “given” to them, they
still have an obligation to their members to use their funds in a business-like way that brings the
most benefit to all their members. If a worker cannot do the job, or doesn’t work well, he or she
should not be kept on. Or perhaps they would be more suited to a different job. The end of the
probation period is the time when these difficult decisions must be made. During the probation
period, the employer or employee only has to give fourteen days notice. No reason has to be
given. The Employment Act states that “the contract shall be deemed to have been terminated
with just cause and neither the employer nor the employee shall be required to give any reasons
Good use of the monthly staff evaluations will alert both management and worker to problems
before the end of probation is suddenly upon them.
Staff Evaluations / Work Performance
It is a good idea to do monthly staff evaluations. These force the employer into looking at the
performance and attitude of each staff member regularly and allow the worker to know exactly
how he or she is doing. They are a useful tool to focus on the performance of each employee and
are designed to help improve behaviour and work performance – not as a reward or punishment.
An evaluation form can include the following:
And grading (usually below average, average or above average) given on the following:
It must also include a section on areas of improvement needed. This will be referred back to at
the next evaluation to see if the worker has made efforts to improve. These evaluations are
prepared by management and should be discussed with each staff member and put on their file.
At the end of the three or six month probation period, these evaluations should be reviewed and
may form the basis of making a decision to make the worker permanent or to terminate their
When organising training you need to remember that people in Botswana do not hesitate to
change jobs. Therefore, you should train more people than you actually need. For instance, if you
are arranging training for waiters, why not make it a course for 8 or 10 people? Yes, some of
them will go and get jobs elsewhere but furnishing your members with these extra skills can be
considered a community service. You are enriching and empowering your community. You are
also increasing the “pool” of qualified staff you can draw from when you have a vacancy.
Conditions of Service
These are the rules and regulations the employer has to govern those people he employs. All
extra benefits, hours of work, work schedules, uniform details, rules about housing and rations
etc. would be spelt out here. At the beginning of each working year, a meeting should be held
and these rules carefully explained to all employees. The Staff Representative should be
especially knowledgeable about the Conditions of Service.
Don’t wait until you have a problem or complaint to explain things to your workers. There is a lot
of misinformation and confusion about the Labour Laws and many workers seek clarification
from family or other workers who may not know the correct answer.
A sample Conditions of Service that would be attached to a contract can be found in annex 5.
Code of Conduct
Another very useful tool to maintain harmony amongst your workers is the establishment of a
Code of Conduct. This will vary for each business but will contain such things as:
These rules must come from the workers themselves, ideally in a participatory workshop. They
may also include rules about how management should deal with the workers.
Long Term Illness
There is nothing in the Employment Act about termination of employment due to ill health but it
is a problem faced by employers more and more often these days with the high incidence of
The normal practice is to allow an employee to use all their sick leave, then allow them an
extended period of leave without pay (perhaps two months). During this time they must keep the
employer informed of their condition and after this time they may be required to visit a medical
practitioner of the employer’s choice. If the medical practitioner decides that the worker is likely
to remain sick and unfit for work for at least another month, the employer may decide to
terminate the contract. It is essential that a clause to this effect be written into the contract. You
must be very careful that you are not seen to be discriminating against an employee because of
their illness e.g. you cannot fire someone because they have HIV/AIDS or because they have T.B.
You can terminate their contract if they are unable to work and you have given them plenty of
time and have taken advice from a medical practitioner.
Employees working in a job that requires food handling are required to undergo health checks for
infectious diseases every six months. This requires them to visit the nearest hospital or facility
that can do these checks. They will have to make an appointment and will then be given a list of
requirements to bring with them. The testing is quite extensive and will take the whole day. You
will need to make provision for your employees to take these tests and provide money for
transport and meals. Employees that are found to be suffering from one of these illnesses should
be taken from their food handling job until they receive clearance from the Health Department.
This is also not covered in the Employment Act but is sometimes an issue. It refers to the forcing
of an employee to have sex with a boss or supervisor because of fear of losing a job or otherwise
being penalised at work. It can also refer simply to comments or jokes made about or to
employees that have sexual connotations and with which he or she is not comfortable. This is
unacceptable behaviour and some trusts have already included rules against this in their
Liquor, Drugs and Smoking
Policy on the consumption of alcohol and drugs and smoking in front of guests needs to be
stated. Most businesses completely ban the consumption of alcohol and drugs on company
premises on or off duty. But the safari industry and some other parts of the hospitality industry
obviously have special situations where the employee is expected to socialise with guests.
Contracts or Conditions of Service need to spell out any exceptions to the general rule. For
“ Consumption of alcohol on business premises is prohibited except where management staff and
guides are expected to dine with the guests. Consumption in these cases must be moderate.”
Remember that any employee drunk on the job could be subject to instant dismissal.
There is no legal requirement for an employer to provide medical aid (health insurance) to
employees. It is, however, common practice for an employer to pay half of the costs as part of
wage packages offered to expatriates – especially those employed by safari companies. This will
cost your company between P200 and P600 per month, depending on the cover offered.
The law says that all staff must be covered by Workmen’s Compensation. This is an insurance
taken out by the employer in case a worker is injured on the job or on the way to or from the job.
Claims would cover medical expenses and loss of earnings. Lump sum payments are sometimes
paid for injuries such as loss of limbs or incapacitation (unable to work again).
The premiums (monthly or yearly payments) are paid directly to an insurance company or
through an agent or insurance broker. The premiums are calculated on the amount of wages
paid. So if your wages bill is high, your Workmen’s Compensation payments will also be high.
For example, a CBO paying P13,000.00 per month in wages, pays P156,000.00 per year in
wages. They would have to pay approximately P2652.00 (plus 10% VAT) in Workmen’s
Another CBO paying P32,000.00 per month in wages, pays P384,000.00 per year. They would
have to pay P6258.00 (plus VAT) in Workmen’s Compensation.
The premium paid is a percentage of the total salary and wages paid each year. This can be as
low as 1.3% for an office job but up to 1.7% for “high risk” jobs such as mokoro poler or safari
guide (this higher percentage was used in the above examples). The Labour Department will ask
to see your insurance certificate for Workmen’s Compensation and may also check that the
income is not under-stated. They will certainly check your wages book if a claim is made to verify
that the income claimed matches the income received by that worker.
The Importance of Communication
It is vitally important to communicate with your workers. Not only must you make sure they
understand all their conditions of service, their contracts and their job descriptions but you must
also make sure they understand your interpretation of them. Spell it out!
For example, if an employee comes to you and says they are sick, you might tell them they can
go home or to the clinic for treatment. You must then state whether or not they are being paid for
the time they are absent. Similarly, someone might tell you they are going to be away and then
be shocked when you deduct money from their pay for their absence. They will have assumed
that by telling you they will be away and you not saying anything that they have permission for
this absence and will be paid. Spell it out! Don’t leave any room for misunderstandings and try to
have a reliable witness to these conversations.
A Summary of the Labour Laws of Botswana
What follows is a basic summary of the Employment Act of Botswana (and amendments). It is
meant as an easier to follow guide for CBOs. For full understanding of each rule or section, you
would need to refer back to the Act (available from the Government Press in Gaborone) or seek
clarification from the Labour Department. All comments in italics are those of the authors. Location
of each section in the Employment Act is given after the title headings.
Contracts (Part III /14-16)
“May be oral or in writing, expressed or implied”. This means that even without a written contract,
the Labour Laws of Botswana protect the employee.
The employer has a duty to provide work for the employee. i.e. if a worker’s contract states that he
will be employed five days a week for eight hours a day, you cannot send him home when there is
Termination of Contracts (Part III /17-20)
Normally, a contract will expire when the job is completed or the time period is over.
• For a person working one day or less – no notice needed at end of day;
• For a person working more than one day but less than a week – one day’s notice;
• For a person working more than one week but less than a month – at least the same amount
of time as a pay period e.g. if he is paid every two weeks, he must get two weeks notice;
• A person who has worked between 5 and 10 years must get a month’s notice; and
• An employee who has worked for more than 10 years must be given at least six weeks notice.
If the contract states a different notice period, the contract is followed as long as the notice
period is not less than that stated above.
During probation: notice is fourteen days and no reasons need be given.
Breach of Contract: (Part III / 21)
Employer – if he fails to pay minimum or agreed wages; and
Employee – if absent from work without consent. If he has reasonable cause for absence, he
must inform the employer as soon as is reasonably practicable to do so. Some contracts state the
amount of time an employee can be absent before he is considered in breach. Although this makes
it clear from the outset, it can also limit the employer’s right to consider that even one day is
unreasonable in certain circumstances. You will probably still have to pay termination notice to this
You cannot terminate a contract on the following grounds:
• Membership or involvement with a Trade Union;
• Employee being or wanting to be Staff Representative;
• Employee making a complaint or being involved in a case against the employer to do with an
• The employee’s race, tribe, place of origin, national extraction, social origin, marital status,
political opinions, sex, colour or creed.
Resignation of Staff Member
Must give one months written notice or must pay one month’s salary in lieu of notice.
Certificates of Employment (Part III / 24)
An employer must give a Certificate of Employment to a worker who requests it upon
This certificate may not contain anything unfavourable to the employee. Note: This is not a
reference. You can also supply an ex-employee with a reference that says how well he or she
worked, what their attitude and character was like, etc. Be aware of the differences between a
Certificate of Employment and a Reference. Every employer must give a Certificate of Employment,
even if the employment was terminated for a serious offence. When you are interviewing
candidates for a job, if they only have a Certificate of Employment and not a reference, maybe you
Redundancy (Part III / 25)
Redundancy means terminating of contract for the purpose of reducing the size of the work force.
It should be done on the first-in-last-out principle. But the employer can also take into account:
• The efficient operation of his business; and
• The ability, experience, skill and qualifications of each employee.
You are supposed to write to the Commissioner of Labour and Social Security announcing your
intention and must inform those who will be affected. If you re-employ someone in the same
position within six months, you should consider re-hiring those made redundant earlier.
Termination of Contract without Notice (Part III / 26); (Part III / 26 & amendments)
This will occur where the employee is guilty of serious misconduct. Serious misconduct is defined
• Wilful disobedience of lawful and/or reasonable orders given by the employer;
• Wilful misrepresentation by the employee of his skills or qualifications;
• Habitual or wilful neglect of duties;
• Acts of theft, misappropriation or wilful dishonesty against the employer, another employee,
• Damage caused wilfully or by gross negligence to property of the employer;
• Wilful disclosure of confidential information or trade secrets against the interests of the
• Inability to carry out normal duties, due to the consumption of alcohol or habit-forming
• Wilful refusal to obey or comply with safety rules or practices for the prevention or control of
• Consistent work performance below average despite at least two written warning;
• Persistent absence from work without permission.
The above reasons are grounds for instant dismissal.
Severance Benefit (Part III / 28)
After 60 months (5 years) of continuous employment, the employee is entitled to one days basic
pay for every month worked (first 60 months) and two days basic pay for every month worked
after that. This is not paid if the employment is terminated on the ground that the employee is
guilty of serious misconduct. If you are not sure how to calculate the amount due, contact the
nearest Labour Office who will assist you.
Employment Cards (Part III / 32)
Must be filled out for every employee. You can obtain copies of the standard card from your
nearest Labour Office or design your own (as long as it contains all the necessary information).
Register of Casual Employees (Part III / 37)
This register must be kept for at least two years.
Wages (Part VII /75)
Unless stated otherwise, the wage period will normally be one month.
Payment Of Wages (Part VII / 76 –79)
Should normally be done by the end of the third working day of the next month (or as soon as it
is practicable to do so). Payment on termination should be done on the day of termination (or as
soon as it is practicable to do so). If the employee doesn’t give proper notice or doesn’t work out
the notice period, payment should still be done within three days of giving notice (unless it is a
rest day or public holiday). Payments should be made during working hours at or near the place
Deductions From Wages (Part VII / 80 –82)
Can be taken from salary or wages with the consent of the employee for:
• Any other amounts the staff member has agreed (in writing) to have deducted.
Public Holidays (Part VIII / 100)
Staff working on these days will be paid twice the normal rate. They can also choose to take time
off in lieu of payment. NB. There are about thirteen public holidays in Botswana but only those
listed above are PAID public holidays. For the others, if you choose to give an employee this day
off, you must still pay them. But if you choose for them to work, it is just paid the same as any
Annual Leave (Part VIII / 99)
It is a good practice to get all employees to fill in an application for leave form, stating when they
are taking leave and what sort of leave has been granted. This would go on the staff member’s file.
The minimum leave is 15 days per year. Calculated at 1.25 days for each full month worked (5-
day week) or 1.5 days per full month worked (6-day week). Leave can be accumulated year by
year for a maximum of three years. Leave must be paid at current basic rate of pay
This is not a requirement of the Employment Act. It is an extra benefit that might be given by the
employer. It is up to the management to decide whether or not to grant this leave when the
worker applies. Some Trusts give a total of up to six days paid leave to a staff member in the case
of the death of a close relative. Close relative means child, spouse, sibling or parent (including
parent of spouse). It should be stated in the contract if any compassionate leave is included.
This is also not dealt with in the Employment Act but it is common practice to make provision for
emergency leave. It is granted in cases of serious illness or accident in the family or the death of
a family member. The days off work are deducted from Annual Leave accrued (already earned) or
In cases other than emergency leave where the staff member has no leave available, they may be
Sick Leave (Part VIII / 101)
During the first 12 months, the employee is entitled to 14 days sick leave or up to 30 days sick
leave if hospitalised. The employee must inform the employer as soon as possible. If sick for more
than one day, the employee must get a medical certificate. If there is no medical certificate, the
employer does not have to pay sick leave. The worker might have to take annual leave or unpaid
leave. Some contracts state that an employee may only use seven of their total sick days during the
probation period. As explained previously, the contract should also state the employer’s stand on
Maternity Leave (Part XII / 117 – 124)
Female staff is entitled to 12 weeks paid maternity leave. This can be taken six weeks before the
baby is born and must be taken at least six weeks after the baby is born. Staff may get further
two weeks of paid maternity leave if the absence is related to the birth of the baby provided that a
medical certificate is produced. After this time, staff might need to take sick leave or unpaid leave
if she is still not well enough to return to work. Staff must get a medical certificate stating she is
fit to return to work before resuming work. A Breastfeeding staff member is given an extra hour
off during the day to feed the baby until it is six months old. The employment Act states it as “half
an hour twice a day” but in practice, most mothers prefer to take the whole hour at once.
The Employment Act of Botswana and current labour practices clearly outline disciplinary
procedures to be adopted. These are very formal and employee files should be kept for each
employee so these verbal and written warnings and disciplinary hearings can be recorded. The
employee should be given copies of such records and ideally should sign these. If they refuse to do
so, a witness to the proceedings would sign. The Labour Department has very strict guidelines
about how a worker should be disciplined. In some cases a worker’s contract has been terminated
for valid reasons but the required disciplinary steps were not followed. This has resulted in the
employee being re-instated or compensation being sought.
A disciplinary hearing is a formal meeting (a bit like a court case) arranged to discuss behaviour
problems and possible punishments. It is conducted according to rules from the Labour
Department, combined with rules from the employer that cover such things as who will be on the
disciplinary committee. On minor matters, the manager or management team will normally deal
with disciplinary problems. A disciplinary hearing should be conducted for serious matters or for
matters where there is dispute about the charges and the management wants to make sure hat
everything is done “by the book”.
Manager / Trust (or Management Committee)
A staff member’s employment can be terminated after two written warnings and one final written
warning, and including a verbal warning at the first incident.
Any member of the management team may draw the attention of a staff member to activities or
behaviour that is undesirable. A record of verbal warning should be entered on the employee’s
file. The offence is reported to the manager who may call witnesses and then decide whether to
issue a verbal warning or a written warning.
• A Disciplinary Sub-committee may be formed. The composition of the committee will depend
on the Trust’s own business structure but should include at least one member of
management and one member of the Board of Trustees. One committee member will be
• The hearing must be held within 14 working days of the complaint;
• The staff member must be notified at least three days before the hearing; and
• Within three working days of the date of the hearing, the chairperson of the committee must
tell the staff member the decision (in writing).
Charges to be made in Writing
Some warnings are verbal only. All other charges must be made in writing, clearly stating the
nature of the offence. The staff member will be invited to reply to the charges.
Disciplinary Action to be taken Promptly
The objective of disciplinary action is to bring about a change in undesirable behaviour, and it
follows, therefore that action must be taken promptly.
Penalties to be Progressive
Stricter penalties will not normally be imposed unless the staff member has already received a
written warning preceded by a verbal warning. However, in serious cases, the stricter penalty
(including immediate discharge) might be imposed even where the staff member has not had an
Example of a disciplinary Hearing
• The staff member is permitted to have the Staff Representative or a co-worker of their choice
present during all disciplinary hearings;
• The only issue to be discussed is that on the charge;
• The chairman will explain the charge and the staff member will then speak;
• The chairman and the staff member may both call witnesses;
• The employee and the staff representative may also question witnesses;
• A written record of the meeting will be kept;
• The staff member will get a copy of this record;
• The chairperson can give the verdict immediately or later;
• In deciding the punishment, the following should be taken into account:
• The staff members previous record. Are any other penalties in force?
• Penalties imposed for similar offences in the past;
• Staff member’s general behaviour and service;
• After being informed of the penalty, the staff member may speak; and
• The chairman will give a written verdict and advise the staff member of the right of appeal to
The Conduct of disciplinary Proceedings
Disciplinary proceedings are the methods or steps used when dealing with behaviour or work
1. The employee must be given reasonable notice of the time and place when the employer
intends holding a disciplinary enquiry. This gives the employee sufficient time to prepare
his/her defence. Notice that the enquiry will be held on the same day is usually not reasonable
notice, unless the employee consents to it.
2. At the same time the employee must be informed of the nature of the charge or charges.
There must be sufficient particulars so that he/she knows exactly what he/she has to face. It
is not sufficient to merely inform an employee that he/she is charged with theft, fraud or
contravening clause a, b, c of the employer’s disciplinary code.
3. The employee must be given the option of being assisted or represented at the enquiry by a
co-employee of his/her choice. It is not usual for an employee to be represented by a union
official at a disciplinary enquiry. If there are union shop stewards in a business, a shop
steward will normally represent the employee charged.
4. The employer should place sufficient evidence before the enquiry to prove that the alleged
misconduct has been committed and that the employee so charged has committed it. The
principle of natural justice does not require that the procedures and rules of evidence observed
at a hearing in a court of law be applied at a disciplinary enquiry. It is however strongly
recommended that it be done especially to obviate possible future disputes as to what was said
or done at such disciplinary enquiry.
5. The employee should be entitled to question any witness who testifies against him/her.
Although the failure to allow an employee the opportunity of questioning a witness with whose
evidence or statement he/she disagrees, does not necessarily render the proceedings of the
disciplinary enquiry fatally defective, it is advisable to allow such questioning because it goes a
long way to satisfy the requirements of a fair procedure.
6. The employee must be entitled to give evidence himself/herself and to call his/her own
witnesses. It is absolutely essential that an employee be granted a fair opportunity to state
his/her case and to call witnesses if he/she so wishes.
7. In the event of being found guilty of the alleged misconduct, the employee must be given a
further opportunity of putting forward facts in mitigation before a sanction is decided on. It is
also essential that an employee be given a further opportunity to address in mitigation after
having been found guilty of the alleged misconduct.
Case studies and
Case study 1
Gaing-O Community Trust
The Gaing-O Community Trust was registered in 1997 and began operations in 1999. The trust
operates two campsites at Lekhubu (Kubu Island): Lekhubu and the Kraal. The community
consists of approximately 900 people, centred in Mmatshumo village but being spread over quite
a large area. The community members are mostly from the bakalanga, basarwa and bakalutsi
tribes. There is no wildlife in the area and the trust receives no quota and has no joint venture
agreements with the private sector. They work with the National Museum of Botswana. The trust
rents a Village Development Committee building in the village, which they use as an office. They
got a telephone in June 2003 and also have solar power that allows them to use a computer and
This trust is operating with only a small amount of revenue and has received financial support
from a number of organisations including the Community Conservation Fund and the Action for
Situated in the Controlled Hunting Area CT13, the Gaing-O Community Trust is a CBO in
Mmatshumo Village, 25 Kilometres from Letlhakane. It is the closest village to Kubu Island. The
trust has an agreement with the National Museum of Botswana to act as custodians of the island
which is a National Monument. The entrance and camping fees charged to visitors are used to
cover part of the running cost of the Gaing-O Community Trust and to look after the island.
At present the trust operates only the campsites but they are looking for funding to build a
lodge/campsite four kilometres from Mmatshumo.
When operations first began, three caretakers were hired to look after the island, to assist guests
and to collect entrance and camping fees. The National Museum also hired one custodian (paid
by the museum). Lekhubu is located 45 kilometres from Mmatshumo and there is little transport
available so staff does not go home after working hours or even sometimes during off-days.
The focus has now changed from being merely caretakers to being service providers with trained
staff available to assist visitors and provide extra services such as guided walks. There is now the
The custodian is paid by the National Museum and all others are paid by the Gaing-O Trust from
funds generated from visitors. They work 6 weeks on/ 6 days off. The custodian is on a
Government contract and he works 5 days on/ 2 days off each week. He takes his rest days on
Tuesday and Wednesday so he is at work during the busier weekend days.
• 1 volunteer office clerk (who will become a paid worker when funds permit).
The General Manager and Project Advisor is funded by DED (German Development Services). He
has been working with this trust since April 2002 and has a two-year contract, which the trust
would like to extend for at least another 12 months. The trust has just selected a General
Manager and an understudy/counterpart who will begin work soon.
Selection of Employees
There is now in place a formal interview committee consisting of:
• A representative from Permaculture Trust of Botswana (the facilitating NGO);
• A representative from Tribal Administration; and
In the past, the Board did interviews and selections with advice from Permaculture Trust of
Botswana. Vacancies are advertised in Mmatshumo. Applicants for the field guide positions were
interviewed and they also had to undergo quite extensive testing, consisting of written and oral
tests as well as participation in role play situations.
Until the Project Advisor arrived in 2002, there were no formal contracts between the trust and
it’s employees. This was a problem and the workers questioned their terms of employment and
the lack of contracts. A copy of the contract used by a nearby safari operator was obtained and
Once again, before 2002, the trust operated without formal job descriptions. These are now in
Employees working for the trust in the past at Lekhubu worked 20 days on with 10 days off and
were paid their normal salary for the “off-season”. They were actually working only 240 days a
year instead of the normal 306. When it was decided to upgrade the jobs of the caretakers to
those of field guides, the three employees doing the original jobs were terminated with one
month’s notice. They were not happy about this and complained to Labour Department. A
Labour Officer from Letlhakane investigated and decided that the trust should pay the employees
six months pay in compensation. Gaing-O Trust felt that this was not fair and appealed against
the decision. Their main argument was that the original jobs no longer existed and that the new
positions of field guides required more (and different) qualifications. The field guides receive
training in the local flora and fauna, guest relations, etc. It was further argued that the
employees whose contracts were terminated were not unfairly treated and, in fact, were paid for
three months a year they didn’t work and also an excessive amount of leave and rest days were
granted. A further hearing was held in June 2003 and the results are expected soon.
The trust has had no problems with theft or dishonesty but has noticed that since tighter control
of the money collected at Lekhubu was introduced, their revenue increased from P40,195.00 for
2001/2002 to P92,000.00 in 2002/2003. It was not felt that there was a noticeable increase in
visitor numbers in that time and the fees remained the same.
The board set present wages with assistance from Permaculture. They were an estimate of what
was considered a reasonable wage for the job. When contracts were introduced, there was an
attempt made to get all employees to open bank accounts and to have their salaries paid directly
into these accounts. The only bank in Letlhakane no longer has payroll accounts and requires
account holders to maintain a minimum balance of P1000.00 in their accounts. This was
obviously not practical and so workers are paid in cash at the trust office.
Case study 2
Gudigwa Camp – Bukakhwe Cultural Conservation Trust
Gudigwa Camp is an enterprise owned by the Bukakhwe Cultural Conservation Trust (BCCT).
The people of Gudigwa have always been part of the Okavango Community Trust (managing
NG22/23) and received some benefits from this trust. In 1998 they began working with
Conservation International (an NGO) to form their own trust designed to protect and preserve the
culture of the Bukakhwe people and to conserve the local environment and wildlife. They felt the
best way to achieve these objectives was to start an eco-tourism business based in Gudigwa and
showcasing the Bukakhwe culture. The Trust was registered in September 2000. Gudigwa Camp
opened in April 2003. There are approximately 800 people living in Gudigwa Village. They are
Gudigwa Camp is located five kilometres from Gudigwa Village on the eastern side of the
Panhandle in the northern part of the Okavango Delta. It has it’s own airstrip and can also be
accessed by road from Mohembo via Seronga. The BCCT has formed a strong relationship with
Okavango Wilderness Safaris and has marketing and service agreements with them. The Camp is
100% owned and managed by the trust. All employees (except the camp manager) are from the
local area and are members of the trust.
At present, the BCCT owns only Gudigwa Camp but is investigating the purchase of a shop in
A lot of the preparation for the establishment and operating of this business has been financial
training for the members of the community and board members. Part of this training was the
understanding that no business is expected to make money immediately. A very large sum of
donor money was injected into this enterprise and now it must stand alone. The community
realises that 2003 was not a good year for the tourism business with the war in Iraq, and the
SARS virus seriously affecting the number of tourists travelling to Botswana. They have accepted
that the enterprise will not generate any profits for at least two years and they have adapted their
employment plan accordingly. Seventeen staff members were selected and underwent extensive
training over the year before the business was to begin operating. These staff expected full-time
employment for the nine months of the “tourism season”. They have had to accept that there is
simply not enough money to support their full-time employment whilst occupancy rates are so
low. It was agreed that six staff members would work full–time at a reduced rate of pay and that
the rest would work part-time when guests were booked in the camp until the financial situation
improved. This was a very sound and mature business decision taken by this community for the
The Trust has employed a Trust Manager and has also hired a Shop Manager. Two night
watchmen work at the shop – each works five nights on and then five nights off.
Staffing Levels – Gudigwa Camp
• Assistant Manager – Administration;
• Assistant Manager – Guest Relations;
* Up to 30 dancers, entertainers and guides are hired on a per day or per performance basis.
• Assistant Manager – Administration;
• Assistant Manager – Guest Relations;
All staff has contracts but part-time staff has signed a declaration of understanding about
working part-time. They are working between 15 and 20 days per month and are guaranteed at
Policy and Procedures Manual
The BCCT has recognised that they do not have the expertise and experience to operate this
business on their own. They are advised by Conservation International (an NGO) and are in a
marketing partnership with Okavango Wilderness Safaris. They have formulated a Policy &
Procedures Manual that outlines their rules and regulations for the running of this business.
Furthermore they are in the process of selecting an Enterprise Management Committee (EMC) to
assist them in the running of the business. This committee consists of:
• One other Board member (the Treasurer);
• A representative of Conservation International.
Selection of Employees
The first people selected for training and employment were interviewed and hired by the
community through the Board of Trustees. Conservation International assisted with the selection
and arranged training for those chosen. Subsequent employees will be identified and
recommended by the Board of Trustees of the BCCT, using their “Guidelines for Employing Staff”
but will be selected by the Camp Manager. A new Camp Manager would be identified and
recommended by the EMC but final approval would come from the community.
Contracts were prepared and then reviewed by the District Labour Officer in Maun before being
This business is very new and the workers, in many cases, have never had a job before so issues
that have arisen are generally misunderstandings about things such as payment for public
holidays, date of payment etc. A Staff Representative has been elected. This year most of the staff
is working part-time. The Camp has agreed to put these workers on full-time work as soon as
they can. They will be employed for a maximum of nine months as the camp is closed for three
months during the wet season. A Labour Officer has been invited to come to the Camp to speak
to the staff and clarify any issues regarding the Employment Act and working conditions.
Disciplinary procedures are clearly outlined in the Policy and Procedures Manual. The Camp
management team is responsible for the day to day guidance and discipline of the staff but can
refer any matters to the Enterprise Management Committee. This EMC will be called in for any
serious cases and will form part of a disciplinary sub-committee consisting of:
• 2 members of the Camp management team; and
• 2 members of the EMC (probably the BCCT Board members who are also members of the
If the disciplinary procedure concerns the behaviour of the Camp Manager, then the disciplinary
committee must consist of at least three members of the EMC (two of whom are the BCCT Board
Theft / Dishonesty
So far there have been no incidents involving theft or dishonesty of employees. The Conditions of
Service clearly explain which offences are considered minor, which are serious and which could
When the job vacancies were identified, the Board of Trustees and Conservation International
decided on the salary or rates of pay. This was largely based on advice from their marketing
partner, OWS, who have been in the safari business for many years. When it became obvious
that there were not going to be enough bookings to sustain the business, part-time employment
was offered to the majority of employees. They are paid a daily rate of P25.00 per day (the
minimum wage is P19.20 per day or P499.20 per month). When employees are put back onto
full-time work they will revert to the agreed wages which are more than the minimum.
All staff that was kept full-time agreed to a reduction in wages from those that were first
suggested in order to help the business survive its first year.
Wages are paid in cash at the Camp at the beginning of each month. Except for the Camp
Manager whose salary is paid directly into her bank account.
Case study 3
Okavango Community Trust
The Okavango Community Trust (OCT) is a Community Based Organisation representing
approximately 5000 villagers spread through five villages along the northern edge of the
Okavango delta in Ngamiland, Botswana. The five villages are Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha,
Beetsha and Gudigwa. The closest commercial centre is the town of Maun, which is
approximately 7 hours by road (100 kms gravel, 400 kms tar) or 45 minutes by air.
Village Trust Committees - VTCs (sub-committees).
Each village trust committee of 12 members is elected at a kgotla meeting. This committee then
elects its own Chairperson, vice-Chairperson, Secretary and vice-Secretary and Treasurer. Each
sub-committee is responsible for representing its particular village and communicating the needs
of the village to the Board of Trustees. The chairperson and secretary of each sub-committee are
automatically the village representatives on the Board of Trustees
The full Board of Trustees consists of ten village representatives (two from each village) and a
representative of the Joint Venture Partner (the company which leases the concessions and
quota from the Trust). Its function is to see to the running of the affairs of the Trust, and ensure
that benefits derived from the activities of the Trust are distributed equitably. The six-member
Executive Committee of the Board is automatically made up of the Chairperson, vice-
Chairperson, Secretary and vice-Secretary from the Board, joined by the General Manager and
the Treasurer. It is the Executive Committee’s role to take decisions as required when the Board
Joint venture agreement
The Trust has a joint venture agreement with Micheletti Bates Safaris (Pty) Ltd for the utilisation
of CHAs NG22 and NG23. Okavango Wilderness Safaris operates the photographic arm of the
agreement. There are a total of five photographic camps in the lease areas (no hunting conducted
at present). The management of the lease is guided by the technical proposal tendered by
Micheletti Bates for the areas. The benefits from this agreement are listed below:
Income through the joint venture is derived from two main sources, firstly in the form of rental
for the two areas NG22 and NG23 to the joint venture partner and secondly from the sale of the
wildlife quota to the same partner for commercial hunting purposes. An additional benefit is a
project fund, which is divided equally between the five member villages.
Cash benefits paid to the OCT annually (2001 figures):
In addition to the joint venture, the OCT has embarked on projects identified by its members.
Projects are classified as income generating or public service projects.
Income generating projects presently include a bottle store and general dealer operated by the
OCT’s wholly owned company Seronga Trading (PTY) Ltd. Presently another three general dealers
are being constructed. A 12-seater passenger ferry is also operated between Seronga and Sepopa.
The OCT vehicles are hired out at nominal rates to members. Details on projects:
A 7-metre boat runs between Seronga and Sepopa daily or on demand. It employs four
community members. Income generated goes to the OCT account.
A private trading company, wholly owned by the OCT and used for trading activities. The
company operates a bottle store in Seronga and a general dealer in Beetsha. It employs two staff
in Seronga and five in Beetsha. Income generated goes to Seronga Trading account and is used
to purchase stock. Costs relating to running the enterprise are paid by OCT at present, but it is
hoped that in 2004 the trading arm will become self sufficient in terms of staffing and transport
OCT runs 1 Ford tractor and trailer, donated by the Joint Venture Partner (value P 25 000), 2
Toyota Landcruisers bought new in 1999 and 2000 and financed through Wesbank, and 1
Magirus Deutz 12 ton 6X6 truck financed through the African Bank. These vehicles are used to
run the trading activities and to assist the community with transporting for funerals, sick people,
etc. They are also hired out. Income generated goes to the OCT account. Two of the villages,
Gudigwa and Eretsha, have each bought their own village vehicles, a new Toyota Diesel
Landcruiser each. These vehicles are registered under OCT, and managed by the VTC and OCT
General dealer shops are presently under construction in Gudigwa, Eretsha and Gunotsoga as
part of larger structures. The shopkeepers who will be used are those presently being trained on
the Seronga and Beetsha operations. The general dealers were opened in 1998 by the Trust
Board, and run by the entire Board. This resulted in a book loss of over P 115,000 for that year
(10 months trading). The Board requested assistance from the JVP, and a manager was sourced
by the JVP. The shops were closed most of 1999, and the Seronga bottle store was reopened
November 1999, and the Beetsha general dealer in early 2000. Since then, despite more control
problems occasionally, an approximate 20% gross profit has been managed.
These facilities are included in the general dealerships being erected. They will consist of a radio
room to replace the traditional huts used at present and rooms for conducting the village craft
projects to be instituted and for the VTC to conduct its business. A room for conducting projects
A mortuary is presently under construction in Seronga. The building is being paid for by OCT,
and the fridge unit was donated by the Joint Venture Partner (value P 15 000).
A new head office is being constructed on the OCT plot in Seronga. This will include a storeroom,
A traditional village is planned for Gombo, near Eretsha. This will be done in conjunction with
the joint venture partner, who will provide financial and management assistance, and clients.
This project however will probably only proceed once the other projects have been realised, due
The OCT presently employs the following staff:
10 Radio operators (paid 50% JVP, 50% OCT);
25 (not permanent, but for the building of shops and mortuary); and
The Okavango Community Trust was one of the first trusts in Botswana and, as such, it has a
cumbersome structure that involves the payment of 60 Board members. Its employment policies
mean that the joint venture partner (JVP) has no say in how many staff to employ or who those
staff are. Staff for the JVP safari camps is selected by the OCT, an equal number from each of the
five villages. The JVP also has to provide a crippling number of staff benefits that would not be
entertained in an independent operation.
Serious disciplinary matters are dealt with by a combination of the employer (the JVP) and the
Board of Trustees of the OCT. This incurs more expenses as representatives from Okavango
Wilderness Safaris and Board members from OCT have to be transported to the camps and given
There is a general attitude of the JVP being regarded not so much as a partner but as a cow to be
milked for all that can be got from it. Negotiations are presently underway to put in place a
different sort of agreement that might allow the business to be operated under more stringent
business guidelines. Workers employed by the OCT itself enjoy very relaxed working conditions
and job security. There are cases of for example a radio operator leaving her job for over four
months without notice or explanation. On her return she demanded her job back and the Board
insisted that she be re-instated against the wishes of the manager who had hired another
employee for that job. As the Board has the final say in all hiring and firing, staff members tend
to by-pass the managers and appeal to the Board on any work-related matters.
These problems are not restricted to the OCT. We include them as an example of how a CBO can
cause problems by not regarding its enterprises and its employees in a business-like manner.
There is a general attitude in such trusts that they are “owed” by any partners and that the Trust
is there for staff welfare rather than as a serious employer. There is often little profit generated by
businesses operated by such trusts so the benefits go only to the few who have employment – not
to the majority of the community members. Often too, these employees are chosen by Board
members and may be closely related to them.
Checklist and comparing the 3 case studies
A Sample Job Description from Gudigwa Camp - Camp Manager
This job description is very detailed and specific. It allows no room for misunderstanding.
The Camp Manager is responsible for the overall management of Gudigwa Camp including guest
activities, hosting, housekeeping, maintenance of the camp and capital equipment, accounts,
banking administration, catering, curio sales, stock takes, reporting to EMC, and staff
management and training. S(h)e is responsible for all employees (permanent and casual). The
Enterprise Management Committee is in charge of the Camp Manager.
• To develop the highest standards in all areas of the tourism business;
• To ensure the entertainment, safety and satisfaction of all guests by means of expert and
professional assistance and service at all times;
• To ensure punctuality and neatness of staff, and to promote responsibility and accountability
• To be responsible for staff training in guest service and relations; communications; etiquette;
• To develop a close and efficient co-operation with staff to ensure the well-organised and
profitable execution of all aspects of Gudigwa Camp’s operation. To provide motivation and
• To ensure the maintenance and security of all Gudigwa Camp assets including plant and
machinery, radios, vehicles, motors, pumps, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, electrical systems,
• To ensure that Gudigwa Camp is operated in an eco-friendly manner. This will include the
efficient use of non-renewable resources such as petrol, proper disposal of waste, the
preservation of flora and fauna, and the fostering of a conservation ethic in staff, guests and
• To oversee the daily, weekly and monthly administration required to accurately record and
control bookings, orders, receipts, consumption and sales of shop, bar, housekeeping, fuels,
• To operate according to the Gudigwa Camp Policy and Procedures Manual. Any situation not
covered in the manual or which needs clarification can be referred to the Enterprise
• To be familiar with current Labour Laws and practices;
• To interview job applicants, and appoint staff as requested;
• To prepare work rosters and leave rosters and to ensure that staff is kept fully informed of
any changes in their work times or duties;
• To discipline and praise staff as required in a fair, consistent manner;
• To ensure that minutes are kept of all staff meetings and disciplinary matters;
• To be responsible for maintenance of First Aid kits and to personally ensure that staff
members are receiving medical care from the local clinic;
• To prepare emergency contingency plans and familiarise staff with emergency procedures;
• To supervise and oversee all financial transactions and record keeping;
• To make orders, purchases and payments in line with monthly budgets and to make EMC
• To supervise preparation and payment of salaries and wages;
• To oversee the purchase of quality curios and promote their production within the Gudigwa
• To summarise all financial records and camp activities in a monthly report to be sent to
• To check the petty cash ledger on a monthly basis, to count the money in the cash box and
to co-sign the petty cash reconciliation;
• To check that all leases, licences, contracts and permits are renewed on time e.g. Land Board
Lease, Tourism Enterprise Licence, Guides Licences, Employment contracts, Radio Licences,
Airstrip Licence, Vehicle Registrations, any others; and
• Any other task delegated to you by the Enterprise Management Committee.
Sample Job Description from Gudigwa Camp - Driver
This job description also contains a lot of detail.
The driver is responsible for the driving, maintenance and repair of all vehicles. S(h)e is also
responsible for the comfort and safety of all passengers. The Administration Manager is in charge
The duties of the driver include:
• Driving carefully and considerately at all times;
• Driving guests, staff, visitors and goods as required;
• Picking up entertainers from the village and driving them back to the village after their
• Making sure that vehicles are not overloaded. Number of passengers is controlled by the
stated carrying capacity of each vehicle;
• Ensuring that vehicles are not driven in areas or in a manner that may result in damage to
• Assisting clients with luggage, camp-hands with firewood etc as needed;
• Maintaining all vehicles physically and mechanically to the best of your ability
• Keeping garage and workshop areas clean and tidy;
• Complying with daily, weekly and monthly checklists;
• Maintaining an accurate log book that is filled out for every journey;
• Helping to monitor fuel supply and informing the Administration Manager in plenty of time
• Using vehicles, fuel and other supplies in an environmentally friendly manner;
• Assisting with stocktaking and ordering procedures;
• Checking and taking care of all equipment on the vehicle including tools, spare wheels,
puncture kits, First Aid kits. Notifying the Administration Manager when any supplies are
• Ensuring that vehicles receive all necessary services and maintenance in order to preserve
• Monitoring vehicle registration and reminding management in plenty of time when re-
• Making sure that the vehicle is not used for any purposes other than Gudigwa Camp
business and ensuring that only drivers with valid driving licences and authorised by the
• Notifying the Administration Manager immediately if there is any fault or problem with any of
• Filling out accident report forms in the case of any accident and informing Management as
• Undertaking any other duties or responsibilities as required by the Manager.
List of Regional Labour Offices (RLO) and District Labour Offices (DLO)
Sample Employment Contract
1. Full name of the employer and address…………………………………………
2. Full name of the employee and address…………………………………………
3. The above named employee having entered into a contract of employment with the above
• Place of work …………………………………………………………
• Employees Occupation……………………………………………….
• Period of employment……………………………………………….
• Hours of work per day……………………………………………….
• Wage rate…………………………………………………………….
4. Other conditions of employment that apply are:
An employee shall be entitled to 1.25 days leave per month worked
An employee shall be entitled to 14 days paid sick leave for the contract period.
There shall be …… days compassionate leave for cases of death of an employees family
member. If more days are required, the employee will utilise his accrued leave, or take
unpaid leave, by arrangement with management.
An employee who absents himself from work for any period in excess of two working days
should be treated as unpaid and unauthorised leave.
4.4.1. Any period in excess of five working days without reasonable cause shall be treated as
desertion or breach of contract, thereby entitling the employer to consider the contract
There shall be occasional long hours or work.
If the need arises to work on a rest day, employees would be required to do so and will
then be granted a day in lieu thereof.
Employees who work on a paid public holiday would be paid double the rate
Management may assign an employee other duties, and the employee shall respect
management and carry out lawful and reasonable instructions to the best of their ability.
The contract shall terminate on expiry date unless extended or
4.9.1. by giving the other party at least 14 days notice of the intention to terminate or
4.9.2 by summary dismissal upon commission of any act of serious misconduct.
4.10. Any contract of employment terminated without adequate notice shall be paid in lieu
4.11. The employee will well and faithfully serve the employer in such a capacity as aforesaid
and will at all times devote his full and whole attention to his duties.
4.12. The employee will be true and faithful to the employer in all dealings and transactions
whatsoever relating to the employers business.
4.13. The employee shall at all times respect the employer’s clients and present a happy and
4.14. The employee will at all times be obedient, helpful and please the employer’s client.
Thus done and signed on this…………… day of……………. 20…
NB You will need two model contracts:
• For temporary staff, employed specifically for the busy (hunting/tourism) season; and
• For permanent staff, who will be at camp throughout the seasons, on unspecified contract.
The layout will be the same and changes could be in clauses:
(It should read as follows) There shall be occasional long hours of work, especially during
Insert the words: especially during the low season, when the staff is reduced.
(It should read as follows) The contract of employment shall be terminated by giving the
other party at least a month’s notice or payment in lieu thereof or
4.9.1. The employer shall have a right to deduct from any monies due to the employee, payment
Sample Conditions of Service that would form Part of the Contract
Paid Public Holidays:
Managers, executives, administrators, professional staff, are not entitled to any paid public
holidays. A paid day off can be given in lieu of double time for working on a Paid Public Holiday.
It must be given within 10 days of the public holiday. Other public holidays are taken as unpaid
days off or normal working days with no overtime.
Termination of Contract:
One month’s notice must be given by employee or ……. Trust or one month’s pay must be paid.
A contract can be terminated without notice and without payment for the following:
• Wilful disobedience of lawful and / or reasonable orders given by the employer;
• Wilful misrepresentation by the employee in respect of his skills or qualifications;
• Habitual or wilful neglect of duties;
• Acts of theft, misappropriation or wilful dishonesty against the employer, another employee
• Damage caused wilfully or by gross negligence to property of employer;
• Wilful disclosure of confidential information or trade secrets;
• Refusal to obey any safety rules for the prevention of accidents or diseases;
• Consistent work performance below average despite two written warnings;
• Persistent absence from work without permission.
Refusal by the employee to carry out instructions of his employer in connection with his work is
Lack of respect:
Showing lack of respect towards an employer could be a breach of contract.
Payment of wages:
Wages will be paid within three days of the end of the month.
Rest days / off days:
All employees will have one day a week off or two days every fortnight
** This does not apply to managers, administrators, executives, professional staff, domestic
workers. They are also not entitled to overtime pay**
Overtime is paid at 1.5 times the basic rate.
Limit on hours of work:
An employee cannot work more than 12 hours a day. Maximum overtime a week is 14 hours.
15 working days per year. This is 1.25 working days per completed month of service. The
employee doesn’t have to work 12 months before they are entitled to leave. When an employee
leaves, the remaining annual leave payment is calculated at the rate of pay at the time the
employee leaves – at 1.25 days for every complete month.
The employee must tell the employee as soon as possible that he or she is sick. If they are sick
for more than one day, they must bring a medical certificate or they will not be paid sick leave.
Either they are not paid for those days, or paid from their annual leave. An employee must work
for 12 months before being entitled to sick leave. Annual sick leave = 14 days.
Female employees are entitled to 12 weeks sick leave:
• 6 weeks after the baby is born (not allowed to return to work).
At the end of 6 weeks, if the employee is not fit to return to work, they can get another 12 weeks
paid maternity leave. They must have a medical certificate. Payment is not less than 25% of pay.
The employee must give the employer a medical certificate saying that the baby is due within 6
weeks. She must also inform the employer of the date of birth of the child – within 3 weeks of the
birth. For a maximum of 6 months after returning to work, the employee is entitled to one hour a
Contract of Employment - Gudigwa Camp
Full name of employee: ……………………………….………………………………………………
Address of employee: ………………………………………………………………………………….
Contract Date: From……………………. To………….………….
Salary:………………….…… or Daily Wage: ……………….……
Pay interval: …………………………………………………. (daily/weekly/fortnightly/monthly)
Notice Period: …………………………………….
Work hours and duties
: The employee will work hours as required by the management.
Although employed in the position as stated above, the employee is aware that he/she may be
required to assist in any aspect of the lodge operation, maintenance or building.
: All staff are required to serve a three month probationary period on first appointment.
During this period, either party may terminate the contract with 14 days notice (unless there is
summary dismissal for which no notice is required).
A staff member who wishes to resign must provide one month’s written notice or pay one
month’s salary in lieu of notice. Gudigwa Camp may terminate the contract of an employee by
giving one month’s written notice or one month’s pay in lieu of notice.
The employee is entitled to 1.5 days annual leave for every full month worked; and
2. The employee must be aware that this salary could be lower than that of his/her initial
: The granting of paid compassionate leave in the case of the death of a
close relative (up to 6 days per annum) is at the discretion of the company. Any days in excess of
this will be at the discretion of management and will be considered as unpaid leave. A close
relative is defined as the employee’s child, spouse, sibling or parent (including parents of
Gudigwa Camp recognises the following public holidays as paid public holidays.
However, as this enterprise is a tourism business, staff will normally be expected, without
negotiation, to work on Public Holidays.
All other Public Holidays will be treated as normal working days and shall not be subject to
: All employees of Gudigwa Camp (except the Camp Manager) are hired at Gudigwa
and, as such, are to be returned to Gudigwa at the end of their work period if there is transport
available. The Company is required by law to transport employees to and from their place of work
All members of staff are expected to attend promptly at the hours of work laid
down. Absence from duty without prior permission may render the employee liable to disciplinary
action. Any staff member returning late for duty from an authorised absence may be subject to
disciplinary action. Unauthorised absence for more than three consecutive working days shall
constitute a breach of contract and employment may be terminated without further notice.
: Other than for management staff, who may drink alcohol in moderation when
entertaining guests, consumption of alcohol is not permitted whilst either on duty or off duty on
company property. No alcohol is allowed in the staff camp. Any employee under the influence of
alcohol or drugs may be liable for immediate dismissal.
: Staff members are discouraged from receiving personal visitors on Gudigwa Camp
premises. If there is a matter of an urgent and serious nature that must be dealt with, this can
be conveyed by radio from the BCCT office to the Camp Manager or Assistant Managers who will
decide if a visitor is allowed or if a staff member needs emergency leave. Any visits should be kept
: Monthly rations of items such as soap, soap powder, tea, and toilet paper will be
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