Foreign people have always complained about the way Batswana are so relaxed when it comes to issues of productivity. There is a saying that goes like, ‘there is no hurry in Botswana,’ simply translating that everything has to be taken with ease, including rendering services and doing your share of labour. Of Africa’s labour force surveyed in 2015 for an investment research report, Botswana’s stands out for its lack of appetite for work.
There are lazy workers in all African countries but Botswana is a special case when it comes to the most problematic factor for doing business. Among all the countries that were surveyed, Botswana is the only country among those surveyed where labour productivity is an issue. The report says that the most problematic factor for doing business in the country is poor work ethic in national labour force.
This laziness is monetarily rewarded, something that workers take great comfort in. The accounts clerk who knocked off at 1415 hours on Friday leaving behind a Mount Everest of unprocessed invoices, is today making merry at a jazz session and when he wakes up at 11 am tomorrow, will call in sick before heading off to the nearest drinking hole to pluck the hair of the dog that bit him. Not only will he get his full pay for the days that he didn’t work, he will also stay employed, qualify for a pay raise and may even get a promotion down the road
On the other hand, the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has asserted that the government cannot talk about poor labour productivity among civil servants without claiming responsibility for it. BOPEU expressed concern that workers alone take the blame for declining labour productivity even though they are not in control of determinant factors, such as training and provision of requisite equipment and technologies and work processes.