Former Home Affairs staffers petition govt

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

MORE than 170 former Ministry of Home Affairs have petitioned the government to either renew their contracts or give them terminal benefits.

The ex-workers were employed by the previous Thomas Thabane-led government in the National Identity and Civil Registration as well as Livestock Registration Marking and Information System departments.

Their three-year contracts expired on 30 September 2020 and they have not been renewed by the current Moeketsi Majoro-led administration which came to power on 20 May 2020.

The ex-workers say they had a “legitimate expectation” that their contracts would be renewed by the current government because they had gained valuable experience and also performed well over the course of their three-year employment.

They have since written to Home Affairs principal secretary, Tumelo Raboletse, requesting that the government either rehires them or gives them terminal benefits.

Part of the 23 October 2020 letter written on their behalf by their lawyer, Khotso Nthontho, states that, “Our clients informed us and we verily believed (sic) that they are ex-members of the government of Lesotho”.

“They entered into written three-year statutory fixed term contracts occupying the positions of officers in the National Identity and Civil Registration (NICR) and Livestock Registration Marking and Information System (LRMIS).

“Our clients informed us that the fixed term contracts had come to an end or would come to end on 30 September 2020 and that their contracts were or are not renewed. They had a legitimate expectation to have their contacts renewed.”

Their lawyer claims that they performed well during their period of employment, “hence they ought to have been employed by the government of Lesotho on a permanent basis”.

“The government’s failure to employ them by failure to renew their contracts amounted in law to an unfair dismissal.”

The workers therefore demanded that the government either reinstates them to their posts or pays them terminal benefits.

Mr Raboletse this week said although he had seen a copy, he had not officially received the ex-workers’ letter.

He, however, said the government was already processing their terminal benefits, a clear indication that they had no intention of rehiring them.

The recruitment of government workers has proved to be a thorny issue with major political parties accusing each other of hiring people on the basis of their political affiliations.

The Home Affairs ministry which is under the control of Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC) party has come under intense criticism from prominent members of the main ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Suspended ABC deputy chairperson and former Small Business, Marketing and Cooperatives Minister, Chalane Phori, has accused Home Affairs Minister and DC deputy leader, Motlalentoa Letsosa, of poaching ABC members by offering them jobs in the ministry.

He even attempted to rally Prime Minister Majoro and fellow ABC legislators to abandon the party’s coalition with the DC when parliament reconvened last month.

Thus far his pleas have fallen on deaf ears and the governing coalition remains intact.

 

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