Representatives from EI, the Southern African Teacher Organisation (SATO) and the Southern African Trade Union Co-ordinating Council (SATCC) are currently in Botswana to show solidarity with the President of the Botswana Teachers' Union (BTU), Japhta Radibe.
Japhta Radibe, aged 46, was forced into early retirement this month by the Department of Teaching Service Management (TSM). In a letter received on 7 March 2007, the BTU President was given 3 months' notice to depart from his position as the headmaster of Sedibelo Junior Secondary School in Mochudi, located in the Kgatleng District.
This is not the first time Radine was forced into early retirement. In November 2006, he was likewise removed from his teaching position.
EI considers this move a violation of the workers' rights of Radibe and the labour rights of all Botswanan teachers.
Earlier this week, the international trade union delegation met with officials from the Department of Labour, representatives from the various national trade unions, representatives from the Southern African Development Community, as well as United Nations officials in the country. It was scheduled to meet Education Minister Jacob Nkate on 29 March to convince him to reconsider his decision.
Radibe is a well-known defender of human and trade union rights in Botswana. He is never afraid to take employers head-on over the needs of all workers in the country. Apart from being the President of the BTU, he is also an executive member of EI's African Regional Committee.