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MDJS concerned about the unfortunate and undue misinterpreta...

The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security is concerned about the unfortunate and undue misinterpretation of the Acting Minister's response to a Parliamentary Question No. 949 asked by Member of Parliament for Francistown South, Hon. W.B. Mmolotsi on Tuesday 12th July 2011, when he asked why Government engaged a private law firm for representation during the case with the Unions.

As a matter of fact, in his response, the Acting Minister stated that it was the Attorney General, herself, who outsourced her services in this particular case.

The evidence of misinterpretation, ridicule and distortion has appeared in various form in a number of newspapers in the country.  The evidence has come in the form of news articles, editorials and cartoons.  While the Ministry recognizes and respects the principle of freedom of expression, it is unfortunate that some newspapers may have abused this by imputing that the Acting Minister has declared, implicitly or explicitly, that he has no confidence in the Attorney General and this has been linked to his response to the Parliamentary Question under reference.  It should be stated in the strongest terms that such inferences are wrong, unfounded and ill advised.  The Acting Minister has full and undisputed confidence in the capabilities of the office, and the person, of the Attorney General.

For the benefit of the members of the public and the media, and with the view to dispel any perceptions or misconceptions about the matter, the Minister's response to the Parliamentary Question under reference is hereby presented:


"Madam Speaker,

i. The Attorney General's Chambers has a standing practice of
outsourcing cases to credible, competent and experienced local attorneys or where necessary to counsel from the South African Bar.  The factors that determine whether a case should be outsourced are many but the main one is the capacity of the Attorney General's Chambers to handle the case which is influenced by the urgency, size, complexity, novelty of matter and the availability of human capital.

ii. The criteria that was used to choose the law firm was basically
its experience in dealing with labour matters.  The law firm has been involved in one way or another with all major industrial action litigation in Botswana since the early 1990's.

iii. The Government did not overlook the Attorney General as the
instruction that went to the law firm emanated from the Attorney General.  In terms of the law, only the Attorney General or her authorized representative possess the authority to represent the Government in litigation and hence the law firm appeared in court as representatives of the Attorney General. At all sittings, a member of the Attorney General's Chambers was present in court.

iv. The Government has not yet paid for the services rendered but
when the billing process is complete the legal cost vote of the Attorney General's Chambers will be used to pay for the legal services rendered as in all other outsourced matters.

v. The decision was made by the Attorney General who issued a Power
of Attorney delineating the authority she was investing in the law firm.

I thank you, Madam Speaker".

Acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security

As it could be seen this is what the Minister stated to the Honourable house and therefore the distortions that have been appearing in the local newspapers should dismissed totally.

Segakweng Tsiane
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security


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