THE Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) on Friday filed an urgent application before the High Court seeking an order for Maseru Urban District Commissioner, Senior Superintendent Motlatsi Mapola, to allow them to hold a peaceful procession and meet Education and Training Minister Dr Mahali Phamotse.
LTTU had applied for a permit to hold the procession and meet the minister so she could address their concerns, which include working conditions and low salaries on Thursday, but it was denied by Sen Sup Mapola.
According to the union’s notice of motion, they want the court to order the respondents who include Sen Sup Mapola, Commissioner of Police Molahlehi Letsoepa and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe to show cause if any, why the decision to deny them the permit should not be “reviewed, corrected and set aside”.
LTTU also wants the court to ask Sen Sup Mapola and Commissioner Letsoepa to say why they cannot be ordered to issue a permit allowing the union to proceed with the procession on or before Tuesday this week, using any of the routes mentioned in the application letter.
The teachers’ union also wants the respondents to state why they cannot be ordered to file their answering affidavit tomorrow on or before 10am and for the LTTU to file their replying affidavit if any before 12pm the same day.
LTTU also expects the respondents to show cause why the aforementioned prayers cannot be granted and operate with immediate effect as interim relief and why the respondents should not be ordered to pay costs thereof.
According to its founding affidavit prepared by the union’s President Alexis Lesenyeho the LTTU heard the concerns of approximately eight percent of all the teachers in Lesotho regarding their payments from the Teachers Service Department (TSD). The union argues they were not being paid in line with their educational qualifications as listed in the salaries chart.
Mr Lesenyeho’s affidavit gives an example of a teacher who holds a degree in high school education, who is supposed to earn M15 000 per month according to the chart. However, the TSD is still paying such teachers M8 000 per month, which is a salary for diploma-holding teachers according to the chart.
The affidavit also notes the teachers made many concerted efforts to put across their concerns to Dr Phamotse, and there was no feedback which “complicated issues”.
Advocate Thabelo Nqhai is representing LTTU in the application. – Additional reporting by LeNA.