Eight PSs fired

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Ministry of Police Principal Secretary Refiloe Matekane
Ministry of Police Principal Secretary Refiloe Matekane

Keiso Mohloboli

Eight principal secretaries have been sent on special leave pending the termination of their contracts in yet another decisive move by government to cut ties with the “old regime” led by Thomas Thabane.

Thato Mohasoa (Defence), Refiloe Matekane (Police), Tahleho Mabethe (Labour and Employment),Tebello Thabane (Law and Constitutional Affairs), Limakatso Chisepo (Social Development), Lebohang Phooko (Public Works and Transport), ‘Maphutheho Ranooe (Mining) and Ranthomeng Matete (Home Affairs) were offered “buy out” packages this week and report for ministerial duty for the last time tomorrow, according to their respective letters dated 28 July 2015 and endorsed by Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka.

The Lesotho Times is reliably informed by government sources that the principal secretaries have been busy negotiating their exit packages with government since receiving drafts of their letters on Tuesday morning.

According to the sources, Mr Mphaka and PS Cabinet Mothabathe Hlalele would also soon be receiving their

Min of Home Affairs PS Ranthomeng Matete
Min of Home Affairs PS Ranthomeng Matete

“marching orders” to complete the “clean-out” of Dr Thabane’s “people” which started with government’s decision not to renew the contracts of five principal secretaries last month.

‘Machabana Lemphane-Letsie (Public Service), Teboho Mohlomi (Justice and Correctional Service), ‘Mataeli Sekhantšo (Cabinet-Economic Affairs),  Moshoeshoe Sehloho (Tourism, Environmental and Cultural Affairs) and Dr Majara Molapo (Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation) were asked to go on special leave with immediate effect through letters dated 23 June 2015 and also signed by Mr Mphaka. The five were told the new seven-party government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, had made a decision not to renew their contracts and should “proceed on leave with immediate effect to expend your leave days”.

However, in the current carnage, government is offering what could turn out to be a “golden handshake” for those whose contracts were set to expire next year and in 2017.

 

 

Min of Social & Dev.
Limakatso Chisepo (Social Development)

The letters, headlined ‘Termination of Employment Contract’, read: “It is the wish of the government of Lesotho to terminate your employment contract as Principal Secretary (PS). In order to realise this, the government wishes to offer a ‘buy out’ package as follows:

  • Payment of your monthly salary up to the end of your employment contract.
  • Payment of gratuity at the rate of 25 percent of the calculated salaries as stipulated in the Employment Contract.
  • No payment of unutilised leave days. Public Service Regulations shall be applied to expend the leave days.
  • Payment of combined contribution with interest made to the Defined Contribution Pension Fund.
  • Payment of 30 percent housing allowance, water and electricity bills for the remaining duration of the employment contract.
  • Payment of M500 home telephone monthly usage for the remaining duration of the employment contract.
  • Payment of M800 cell-phone usage per month for the remaining duration of the employment contract”.

Government has also offered the outgoing officials to purchase their official Lexus vehicles “at residual value”, and also pay the entire exit package within two months of the termination of the contracts.

The letters continue: “The PS shall, likewise, return the government cell-phone set on the last day defined in the

Lebohang Phooko
Lebohang Phooko

termination agreement. The procurement officer in the respective ministry shall receive the set and register it. The termination agreement supersedes the employment agreement.”

The Lesotho Times has since learnt that Mr Mohasoa’s contract was supposed to end in January 2016; Mr Matekane’s in January 2017 and Mr Phooko’s in March 2016. The publication could not immediately confirm when the contracts of Mr Mabethe, Mr Thabane, Ms Chisepo, Ms Ranooe and Mr Matete were supposed to expire.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Matete said he had not received any “document” regarding his employment but conceded he was “in discussion with the Government Secretary on the issue of the termination of my employment contract”.

Mr Matete continued: “I fully understand that I am a political appointee and if the government changes, I might then be sent home. Without giving you any details of the discussions between myself and the government I do not have any problem with change.”

Asked when his contract was supposed to end, Mr Matete said he could not reveal the exact date.

“My contract expires next year but I cannot give you the exact date because I don’t want to jeopardise the discussions I am currently having with government.”

Min of Labour PS Tahleho Mabetha
Min of Labour PS Tahleho Mabetha

On his part, Mr Phooko yesterday confirmed receiving Mr Mphaka’s correspondence but would not discuss the issue.

“Yes, I received a draft of the termination of my employment contract but won’t comment further about the issue. I can only tell you that my employment contract ends in March next year,” Mr Phooko said.

Ms Chisepo also confirmed receiving the letter but refused to comment further saying: “I am still in negotiations with the government and I have not signed anything. Let me not comment on the matter to avoid jeopardising the negotiations”.

Mr Mohasoa, who said his contract ends in January next year, was however, more forthcoming when contacted by the Lesotho Times.

“I understand that I was politically appointed and if the government of the day is not comfortable with working with me, then I am ready to go.

“Having said this, I am also satisfied with the gesture underlying the amicable separation terms and as far as I am concerned, the last day of our working relationship shall be the day government makes full payment of its commitments as set out in the proposed contract termination. In the meantime, I will proceed on my annual leave,” Mr Mohasoa said.

Asked why he thinks he was being offered a ‘pay out’, Mr Mohasoa said: “Acting Government Secretary Emmanuel Lesoma told me in no uncertain terms that ministers had  expressed their discomfort to continue working with the current principal secretaries and their attendant desire to have them purged – I am one such PS.”

Police PS Mr Matekane, on his part, also confirmed receiving Mr Mphaka’s letter.

“My contract is ending in January 2017; I understand that ministers emphasised their discomfort about working with the old principal secretaries. I don’t have a problem to go and fully understand the principles.”

Mr Thabane, Mr Mabethe and Ms Ranooe could not be reached for comment yesterday while Mr Mphaka said he could not comment because he was on leave.

“Call the Acting Government Secretary; he should be in a position to help you,” Mr Mphaka said yesterday.

However, Mr Lesoma said he was in a meeting and could not “talk” when contacted by the Lesotho Times, promising to return the call “later”. He had not done so by the time of going to print last night.

 

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