The Botswana government this week released a notice confirming that it has approved a 6% hike of the minimum wage rates for 2017/2018. This adjustment applies to all except the Agricultural Sector, the rate for which goes up to P80.00.
The new rates will take effect from 1st November 2017 (refer to the table below). The notice further urged employers to adhere to the new rates, as
failure to do so would be a violation of Section 138 of the Employment Act, Cap 47:01 and punishable in terms of section 151 (d) of the same Act.
|Trade/Industry||Basic Min. Wage|
|1||Building, Construction, Exploration and Quarry Industries||P 5.79 per hour|
|2||Wholesale Distributive Trade||P 5.79 per hour|
|3||Manufacturing, Service and Repair Trades||P 5.79 per hour|
|4||Hotel, Catering and Entertainment Trades||P 5.79 per hour|
|5||Garage, Motor Trade and Road Transport||P 5.79 per hour|
|6||Retail Distributive Trade||P5.14 per hour|
|7||Watchmen employed in the above industries and trades or any sector therefore||P 4.89 per hour|
|8||Security Guards employed by security companies||P 5.79 per hour|
|9||Domestic Service Sector||P 3.21 per hour|
|10||Agriculture Sector||P 700 per month|
I have always thought Botswana wages are, to put it bluntly, beyond a joke and these new rates say it all. Almost 4 years ago when I returned from living abroad for well over a decade, I was curious to know what the minimum wage was and was appalled to learn from some security guards that their average monthly wage was P1 500. What’s worse, the rate doesn’t change based on whether they work day or night shifts.
My shock stemmed from the fact living in Botswana is extremely expensive and realistically, P1 500 doesn’t even cover my weekly groceries. I just couldn’t get my head around how someone on such a wage is expected to cover rent, food, transport and basically, be able to keep their heads above water. That’s before even considering any children these people may have. What’s even more shocking is that there are some supermarkets which pay a monthly rate of P800! My understanding of the minimum wage is that it is meant to be set at a rate that allows people to keep above the breadline, but apparently not so in Botswana.
Imagine my utter shock when I attended a Kgotla meeting a few months ago where a senior government official actually defended these paltry rates. Her argument for them being so shoddy was that if the government sets them ‘high’ it runs the risk of putting off foreign investors!
What are your thoughts on the revised minimum wage rates? Please feel free to comment.
Reference: Botswana Government Facebook page