Cllr Pursues Workers’ Welfare And Empowerment In The Tourism Industry

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Deeply concerned about the conditions of service of workers in the safari industry as well as the empowerment of locals in the tourism sector, outspoken Bojanala Ward Councilor, Luke Motlaleselelo has submitted two motions before the North West District Council (NWDC).

The first motion that he sought to debate during this week’s NWDC full council meeting is to request the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to consider coming up with a policy that will compel lodge operators in the Okavango Delta to sub-contract curio shops in their establishments to youth.

According to Motlaleselelo currently these shops are run by the same companies or they are either sub-leased to foreigners who even for worse source the crafts (products) from outside the country.

“I want government to take the decision for the current arrangement to be stopped so that these shops are operated or sub-leased to the local youths. This on its own will create employment because this policy will also apply to those lodges that will be developed in the future,” the councilor said in an interview.

Secondly, Motlaleselelo added that the policy will also promote local crafts since majority of the crafts will be sourced from the local market. Sourcing the crafts locally, he added will also empower the local crafters something which he said will subsequently also improve the local economy.

“We need to be honest as Batswana because we can’t think you can wake up and run a five-star lodge in the delta, you have to start small, operate a curio shop, then a campsite, a mokoro station, and eventually you grow into a big operation.”

Furthermore, the councilor added that is not fair for bigger operators to run the whole tourism value chain.

The second motion by the councilor is for government to establish a safari industry act that will focus only on the welfare of safari workers. He wants the act to address challenges of conditions of service for people working in the safari industry which he argued are very unique.

“So, I believe as much as we have the BDF, Public Service, Police act and others we also need to have the safari industry act that will focus on conditions of service of the workers,” he stressed.

The councilor added that there is need for laws that can compensate for extra hours worked by safari employees such as guides, and also to address issues of low wages among other things.

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