The membership of Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) Burial Society (BBS) has grown by over 200 percent over the past year, a development that has resulted in the society reporting some steady and sound financial books.
Deliberating his management report at the society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Palapye over the weekend, BBS chairperson, Tebogo Moalosi said the growth has been necessitated by the resolution to open membership to all.
An AGM held in the resort township of Kasane in November 2016 took a resolution to open membership to everybody else beyond employees of land boards, councils and state-owned health departments.
“The result has seen tremendous growth in membership numbers from 12 000 members last year,” said Moalosi in celebrating the resolution that was taken at the end of 2016 and implemented in 2017.
Moalosi added: “BLLAHWU Burial Society now boasts of 37 017 principal members. In percentage terms, this means that membership grew by more than 200 percent over a period of 12 months.”
According to Molaosi, the principal members have each registered varying numbers of dependents whose total was still being tallied up at the time of the AGM.
“To use a metaphor that might help you with the right visual image, the society’s membership has ballooned exponentially. Admitting non-civil service members into the society will precipitate significant changes in how the society has been conducting its business since it was founded in 2005,” Moalosi explained.
One such change is that whereas branch membership has traditionally been composed of aforementioned groups of the civil service, Moalosi said henceforth they would also comprise of non-civil servants.
“The natural result of hybrid membership is that we can no longer hold our meetings at government offices but have to find venues where non-civil servants can also attend meetings,” he said.
Moalosi said the configuration of BBS branches would itself change because whereas a branch has historically been made up of civil servants at a particular station, it will now be made up of all society members living in a particular village.
For his part, Assistant Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Moiseraele Goya hailed BBS for its profit orientated initiatives saying burial societies make a significant contribution to Botswana Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Naturally, the increase in membership has resulted in both additional workload and expenditure, which development could not be avoided in any way.