LESOTHO National Development Corporation (LNDC) chief executive officer, Mohato Seleke, has been booted out of his job after his contract which expired on Monday was not renewed.
The LNDC is the country’s trade and investment showcase. It also houses the government’s lucrative investments in various sectors of the economy.
However, Mr Seleke seems determined not to go without a fight. He has challenged the decision to oust him, from what is most probably the plumpest and high-profile parastatal job, at the High Court.
The principal secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Maile Masoebe, confirmed Mr Seleke’s departure in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week.
“Mr Seleke left the LNDC on Monday 30 November 2020 after the expiry of his contract,” said Mr Masoebe who is also the chairperson of the LNDC board of directors.
“The CEO position will be advertised after the board did not recommend the renewal of his contract. However, Mr Seleke is also welcome to re-apply for the position.
“The LNDC’s development finance unit general manager, Theko Bereng, has been appointed acting LNDC CEO and he will hold fort until the appointment of a substantive CEO.
“The advertisements from the CEO’s post will be published beginning next week. We need to find a new CEO as soon as possible and we hope to have concluded the recruitment process by early next year.”
Mr Seleke joined the trade and investment promotion showcase in 2017 on a three-year contract.
During his tenure, he oversaw the development of the LNDC’s five-year strategic plan which re-aligned the corporation with its original mandate of focusing on agro-business development.
Earlier this year, the LNDC signed a US$263 million (about M4, 2 billion) deal with a Singaporean company, Pure Salmon, for the establishment of a salmon fish farm in the ‘Muela area, Butha-Buthe. The project is expected to start in June 2021.
It is expected to produce 20 000 tonnes of fish per three-year cycle and contribute eight percent to Lesotho’s gross domestic product.
The deal won the LNDC a major award for the SADC category at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) Investment Awards in the United Arab Emirates last October.
Before that in 2018, Mr Seleke also inked deals with a South African company, Number 2 Piggeries, for the development of a modern piggery industry in the country worth over M100 million.
The corporation also announced another deal with a South African company, Talana Agricultural Investment Group (TAIG), for vegetable production.
It also signed a memorandum of understanding with Stargrow Group (Pty) Ltd of South Africa to commercialise and upscale the deciduous fruit industry in Lesotho.
All these projects were agreed in 2018 but they are yet to take off amid indications that feasibility studies are still in progress.
The LNDC is also in the process of constructing industrial estates in Ha Belo, Butha-Buthe and Tikoe in Maseru.