- Soldiers in Mozambique owed allowances
- Botswana spent P41m on allowances for troops
Members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) deployed in Mozambique last year to help fight insurgents in the Cabo Delgado Region are up in arms against the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security over unpaid allowances.
Information turned up by The Patriot on Sunday reveals that the Botswana contingent on the SADC mission are unhappy over poor treatment, spanning several months. Answering question in Parliament, Defence Minister Kagiso Mmusi said the government of Botswana has paid the soldiers’ allowances that they were entitled to since their deployment on the Mozambique mission.
Mmusi said some of the amount due from SADC in the SAMIM assignment are still due. “Troops deployed in SAMIM are entitled to payment of three basic allowances; the first being Foreign Deployment Allowance (FDA) which is paid in line with existing policies and regulations of the BDF. Secondly, married service members are entitled to Family Allowance for the entire duration of the mission,” said Mmusi responding to a question from Kgalagadi South MP, Sam Brooks.
Mmusi said SAMIM is funded on a cost-sharing basis between Personnel Contributing Countries (PCC) and SADC, noting that on this basis SADC pledged to pay Mission Support Allowance (MSA) to deployed troops. “The first BDF Contingent to SAMIM consisted of two hundred and ninety eight (298) and the FDA was paid to this group at a rate of 25% of the host country’s Per Diem allowance as provided for in BDF Circulars No. 144 of 1998 and No. 89 of 2001, because they are provided with food and encamped. The individuals were paid a monthly Foreign Deployment Allowance of P21, 480.04 per person over a period of six months making a total of P128, 880.04. Overall, Government paid out an amount of P38, 406,312.00 to pay all BDF members deployed under SAMIM 1 as per their deployment days,” he added.
Regarding the Family Allowance, a total of P525, 000.00 has been paid to 173 qualifying personnel. “As per the BDF Act, a spouse for a deployed member is paid P627.40 per month while each child below 21 years is paid P67.95. In total, the amount spent by Government on Foreign Deployment Allowance and Family Allowance amount to Forty One Million, One Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty Two Pula (P41, 136,232.00) for the six (6) months’ period,” buttressed Minister Mmusi.
Also, Mmusi said the SADC Mission Support Allowance (MSA) has not been fully paid to members. According to him, the Botswana Government received only P16, 652,401.52 from SADC as part payment of the MSA.
As at Monday the 11th April 2022 an average of P38, 000.00 was paid out to each member, calculated on the number of the days an individual spent at SAMIM. “The delay to pay out the SADC MSA to the members was due to the necessary reconciliatory process and the subsequent observations on discrepancies of the amounts due against those remitted by the SADC Secretariat BDF has established that SADC did not pay for the first month of deployment from 15th July to 15th August 2021 and for the months of October to November,” he said.
Kgalagadi South MP Brooks had asked Mmusi whether the soldiers who returned from the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) have been fully paid their allowances. He also asked him to state the list of allowances that are due to troops deployed under SAMIM, if these allowances have been paid to all members of the BDF who have returned from SAMIM deployment.
Meanwhile, Brooks said it was unfair for the unmarried soldiers not be paid family allowance. This, he said, is not good because some of the unmarried BDF soldiers also have children who deserve to be taken care by being paid the family allowance benefitted by kids of married soldiers.
Last year BDF deployed troops to Mozambique to be part of SAMIM to help fight the insurgents in the Cabo Delgado Region as its dwellers were massacred in operations connected to terrorism.