Terrified ministry staff now work from home
Communications Principal Secretary (PS) Nonkululeko Zaly has shut down the ministry’s Human Resource Department after its staff was allegedly threatened by Selibe Mochoboroane.
Mr Mochoboroane was fired as Communications, Science and Technology minister in October last year for allegedly denying Prime Minister Thomas Thabane coverage on state television.
However, both Mr Mochoboroane and his party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, have rejected the dismissal, leading to chaos in the ministry as the premier has since appointed Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo to lead the department in an acting capacity.
According to Ms Zaly—whom Mr Mochoboroane does not recognise as the ministry’s PS, but Tšeliso Khomari who has since been “redeployed” against his will but is resisting the transfer—the situation in the ministry had deteriorated to the extent that some of the staff now feared for their lives.
In addition to having to deal with two ‘ministers’, Ms Zaly says she has also been at loggerheads with the ministry’s Director General-Information Communications Technology (ICT), Mr Lebusa Letlotlo, over his “insubordination”.
The PS has accused Mr Letlotlo of refusing to take orders from her and the ministry’s Human Resource Director, Khoboso Molungoa.
“Letlotlo has teamed-up with Khomari and Mochoboroane to create problems in this ministry to the extent that I had to close the Human Resource (HR) Department for the safety of the officers.
“As we speak, the office is closed and all the HR staffers are working from home because their lives are now in danger.
“The problems between us intensified last month when Ms Molungoa wrote a letter to Letlotlo, reminding him that his three-year contract was coming to an end in March. She advised him to go on leave pending his contract’s expiry.
“But instead of telling her when he would be leaving the ministry, Letlotlo declared that he was going nowhere. He also said he would not take orders from either me or Molungoa because he does not recognise me as the ministry’s PS. He told me point-blank that he would only accept Khomari’s directives yet this man was removed when I returned to work in October 2014, after I had appealed and won my case in the courts.
“Khomari is no longer the ministry’s PS and all the documents that he signs are never approved or recognised by government, yet Letlotlo insists he is still the PS. It’s true he was made PS when I was away but he has since been redeployed and some people can simply not accept this.”
According to Ms Zaly, Mr Letlotlo had now allegedly embarked on a campaign to tarnish her image because of their clashes.
“Now the same Letlotlo is making up all sorts of allegations against me in a bid to tarnish my image, including claims that I was involved in tender fraud . I have decided to hold my peace until after the elections (on 28 February 2015) because I realise he is out to tarnish my image,” Ms Zaly said.
Contacted yesterday about the case, Ms Molungoa confirmed reminding Mr Letlotlo that his contract was about to expire, but declined to comment further insisting she feared for her life.
“I can’t really go into details about the whole issue because Mr Mochoboroane threatened that I’ll get burned and doesn’t want to see me anywhere near the ministry’s HR office,” Ms Molungoa said.
“I don’t know who is going to burn me or when and why because he did not specify but simply made this threat, so I am at home as we speak.”
On his part, Mr Letlotlo said he was still in his job and would only go at the end of next month when his contract expires.
“I didn’t refuse to take my leave days pending the expiry of my contract as Zaly is claiming. I have about 20 leave days and I still have time to take the days.
“I didn’t see any reason to panic when I received the HR letter, because I can still take the leave days next month. The bottom line is I am in no rush to leave,” Mr Letlotlo said
Mr Mochoboroane, on the other hand, said it was not true that he ever threatened Ms Molungoa.
“Did Ms Molungoa tell you where and when I threatened her? I don’t go to her office and have never threatened her in any way,” Mr Mochoboroane said.