LCE rector snubs furious staff 

 

Limpho Sello

LESOTHO College of Education (LCE) Rector, John Oliphant, on Tuesday this week snubbed Lesotho College of Education Staff Union (LECESU) members who were demanding to see him about the indefinite suspension of two of their colleagues two months ago.

Mpholo Leoisa and Mzimkulu Faku, who are the Union’s secretary general and president respectively, were suspended on full pay on 26 September 2014 for alleged misconduct pending a disciplinary hearing, but their teaching positions have since been filled by part-timers.

After chanting for almost two hours on the teachers’ training college’s campus demanding Mr Leoisa and Mr Faku’s reinstatement, the LECESU members had to disperse after Dr Oliphant refused to come out of his office to receive the disgruntled staff’s petition.

According to LECESU Publicity Secretary, Kamoho Mothabeng, the staff, most of them lecturers, decided to petition Dr Oliphant and express their anger because their suspended colleagues had not been formally charged and remain uncertain about their future.

The petition reads: “We, members of LECESU, have waited patiently for five weeks since you promised to tell us when our members, Mr Faku and Mr Leoisa, would be charged, but in vain.

“We are concerned because justice delayed is justice denied. The positions of these suspended comrades have been assumed by part-time lecturers and we regard that as a waste of national resources. How do you explain paying two people for the same position when the college is supposed to be in a financial crisis? Your delay to act in this matter will leave us with no option but seek the Honourable Minister’s intervention.”

Asked about their next course of action following the Rector’s rebuff, Mr Mothabeng told the Lesotho Times they would have to meet and chart the way forward.

There was no comment from Dr Oliphant on Tuesday, as his secretary repeatedly said he was in a meeting.

However, in the lecturers’ suspension letter, Dr Oliphant outlined why he was taking such drastic action.

Said the letter: “I am writing to advise you that you are hereby suspended on full pay with effect from today, 26 September 2014, 4:30pm. The suspension is made in order for the College to conduct an investigation into an allegation of misconduct against you as a person and as a member of LECESU.

“You shall not attend your place of work other than for the purpose of attending a disciplinary hearing or any other reason management may call you for. You shall not contact other employees, suppliers or customers of the college, except your representative in any disciplinary proceedings, without the college management’s consent.”

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