By ‘Mantoetse Maama
MASERU — A lecturer at the Lesotho College of Education (LCE) has accused her colleague of severely assaulting her on Friday last week.
The lecturer, Dr ‘Makeletso Ntaote, has since reported the alleged assault to the police, which she says took place in full view of students and other members of staff.
The lecturer has also written a letter of complaint to the Department of Special Education narrating her alleged ordeal, which she says was sparked by a parking misunderstanding.
Part of the letter reads: “I parked my car near Allen Hall at around 10am, and went to my office. But soon after, I heard the suspect calling me saying ‘M’e oe, ‘M’e ee! He uena ‘M’e tooe, the car you had parked behind is leaving’. I told her I was coming and was just taking the things I was holding to my office. But I didn’t go into my office, because I decided to come back to remove the vehicle, while I left the things I had been carrying at the reception.
“When I went outside, I met with the suspect and I told her that I was ‘Makeletso not ‘M’ao tooe . Then I went to the car to park it at a different spot, but when I came out, I met the suspect who was now swearing at me. She was also spitting at me as she called me a slut.
“Some of our colleagues who were going to their own cars came close to find out what was happening and they heard her insult me.
“But I pretended that I could not hear what she was saying and went to my office. I found two students who needed references waiting at my office door, and asked them to come in and I wrote the references for them. Immediately after I sat down, the suspect walked into my office, and stood there holding her waist. I ignored her and continued writing the references. I decided not to talk to her due to her state of anger.
“But the suspect stood there until I had finished the references and she was still fuming with anger. I then decided to leave the office but as I was walking out, she hit me with a fist and grabbed me around the neck, pulling me back into my office. She pushed me to the chair then closed the door, saying she had been waiting, now she was going to kill me. I screamed for help, and the two students who needed the references opened the door to stop her and removed her from me.
“I ran out of the office but she came after me, and continued to say she was going to kill me. Three of our colleagues tried to mediate and asked her to calm down but she continued saying she still wanted to beat me up. She also said I should know that whenever we meet, she was going to beat me up.”
Asked yesterday about the letter, Dr Ntaote said: “It’s true I am the one who wrote that letter and everything in it is true. I will not say more because I have reported the case to the relevant authorities.”
The accused colleague was not immediately available for comment with the college’s receptionist persistently saying she was in a meeting.
However, the Lesotho College of Education Staff Union secretary general, Mpholo Leoisa, said their members would “bring the institution to a halt” if the management does not punish the accused.
“We won’t allow this institution to be turned into a jungle, where only the fittest will survive,” Leoisa said.
“According to the LCE 2007 code of conduct, fighting at work calls for instant dismissal, which we expect to happen in this case.”
The Dean of the college’s Faculty of Education, ‘Mamthimkhulu Matsoso, confirmed receiving Dr Ntaote’s letter and forwarding it to management.
“The management has since responded saying they are aware of the incident and investigating it,” Matsoso said.
The LCE registrar, Lineo Lepota, also confirmed receiving the report.
“We will deal with the issue in terms of the LCE 2007 staff code of conduct if necessary, as we are currently investigating the matter. If one is found guilty of assault, then the penalty is instant dismissal,” Lepota said.
Police spokesperson Senior Inspector Lebona Mohloboli yesterday confirmed Dr Ntaote reported the case at the Pitso Ground Police Station.
“Investigations into the case are currently underway,” Mohloboli said.