THE Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) chief executive officer, Mohato Seleke, says when he joined the organisation in December last year it had degenerated into a toxic environment.
In a recent exclusive interview with Lesotho Times, Mr Seleke said the LNDC had become a volatile working environment where tensions between staff and management were the order of the day. He said this negatively affected the operations of the corporation.
Mr Seleke joined the LNDC after Kelebone Leisanyane who left in 2014. Mr Leisanyane was preceded Joshua Setipa who left in 2014. The duo had bitter fallouts with the corporation’s Board of Directors.
Mr Setipa and the corporation later reached an amicable solution to part ways, while Mr Leisanyane sought the intervention of the courts to resolve the issue. In between, Matšeliso Lehohla and Nthabiseng Posholi were roped in as caretaker CEOs.
The corporation was in such a turmoil to a point where it skipped to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2017.
“When I came in on the 1 December 2017, the cooperation was in a great state of uncertainty,” Mr Seleke said.
“In October and November of that year, the LNDC board had decided not to renew employment contracts of the entire executive management. Most of these executives had been with LNDC for close to 30 years. My new executive team was made of and continues to be composed of acting managers.”
He further said staff morale was very low to a point where a “healer” had to be engaged to help the staff.
Mr Seleke said he acted swiftly to normalise the situation.
“There was very low staff morale and the corporation had been unionised for the first time towards the beginning of the second quarter of 2017. LNDC was simply a volatile and toxic work environment, with tensions between management and staff simmering for years. I am told things were so bad in the previous year they had to bring in a healer.”
He said when he came in, there was also lack of clarity on the strategic direction of the corporation with the 2015-2017 LNDC strategic plan coming to end around that time.
“I had to get ready, take control and move swiftly on what really mattered. The organisation has been undergoing realignment of its structures for the past 16 months or more. The diagnostic and design work had already been done and now I came at a critical time of implementation.”
With the new strategic plan launched and the environment stabilising, Mr Seleke believes there is a lot of work to be done.
“I am grappling with problems going all the way back in the early 2000s,” Mr Seleke said.