Saturday, April 11, 2009

Response to Sunday Standard 29/3/09 article entitled `Khama in sexist style policing – claim`

source: Republic of Botswana (8/4/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 10 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C5) 1/4/09: Response to Sunday Standard 29/3/09 article entitled “Khama in sexist style policing – claim”:

With reference to your newspaper's 29/3/09 article entitled “Khama in sexist style policing – claim” this office wishes to observe that, in accordance with the General Orders Governing the Conditions of Service of the Public Service, it has long been the expectation that, while on duty, all public officers should dress in a manner that reflects credit on the Public Service as a whole, by ensuring that they present a respectable, neat and clean appearance.

Up until now this legitimate expectation, which is the hallmark of virtually any professional establishment, has been largely devoid of controversy.

It is in this context that the Director of Public Service Management recently took the initiative of issuing a Circular Savingram to the heads of Government Ministries and Departments once more reminding them of their responsibility to exercise reasonable authority in upholding proper dress in their workplaces, while further providing them with an interpretation of what was expected by the General Orders.

As they appear in the said Savingram, the Director’s guidelines simply state that the following shall not be worn while on duty:

a. Clothing that reveals cleavage, bareback, chest, armpits, stomach and underwear.
b. Torn, dirty, wrinkled or frayed clothing.
c. Casual and gym wear including jeans and shorts.
d. Short and/or tight skirts, pants and dresses.
e. Body hugging clothing.
f. Tops, shirts and t-shorts with offensive words, logos, pictures, cartoons or slogans.
g. Casual and sports shoes.
h. Hats and caps. However, religious and traditional head covers and headgears may be allowed at the discretion of the Permanent Secretary.
i. Colourful hair styles.

As can be seen from the above, in no place does the DPSM Savingram seek to ban women from wearing pants or smart trousers at the workplace, much less suggest that they will lose their jobs for doing so, as was stated in your newspaper’s report.

Further to the above, under the General Orders it is the role of Supervising Officers to exercise reasonable discretion in advising those under them on matters of dress and appearance. Where a Supervising Officer believes that the dress code has been seriously violated he or she may instruct an officer under him or her to return home to dress in a more appropriate manner.

In any cases where officers object to the judgment of their superior on questions of dress or appearance they are entitled to make an appeal to their Permanent Secretary.

Given the above facts, which apply equally to male and female employees, Government takes this opportunity to express its further disappointment at the allegation also appearing in a commercial media report that there is anything remotely sexist in the DPSM Director’s Savingram.

Finally, given that the Savingram was issued by DPSM Director, we question the motive of falsely attributing it to H.E. the President, as alleged by the report’s headline.

1 comment:

forgetmenot said...

My dearest,dearest Your EXCELLENCY,Seretse Khama Ian Khama,

it is time you put ALL YOUR CIVIL SERVANTS in uniforms of BDF.