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‘I was fired for complaining about sexual harassment’

Caswell Tlali


MASERU — A woman who claims she was retrenched after accusing her supervisor of sexual harassment and stealing from the company has taken her case to the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) seeking reinstatement.

‘Makatleho Ntaote, 43, was employed by Frasers Lesotho (Pty) Ltd’s Mantsonyane branch in rural Maseru  as a cashier since 1995 until she was retrenched on November 30 last year, ostensibly because the company was overstaffed.

But Ntaote insists her retrenchment had nothing to do with overstaffing but “victimisation” by the regional manager whom she claims was friends with her former supervisor.

The supervisor concerned has since been fired after being found guilty of sexual harassment following a disciplinary hearing.

The hearing was only held after Ntaote took up the case with Frasers Lesotho (Pty) Ltd’s head office in Maseru.

“I raised the issue of sexual harassment with the regional manager, Teboho Tsepe, but he was reluctant to investigate the matter,” Ntaote told the Sunday Express on Wednesday.

“I had no choice but to take the case to the head office in Maseru.”

But Ntaote said while she was still waiting for a response from the hearing, she received a retrenchment notice from Tsepe which said she had to go because the Mantsonyane branch was overstaffed.

Ntaote, however, believes she was only retrenched to stop her from exposing alleged irregularities taking place at the company.

“I had been telling Tsepe how the branch manager was contributing to the shortage of stock, and why the books were always not balancing,” she said.

“I was the only employee at Mantsonyane branch who had enough training to realise something fishy was happening with the stock, so I suspect a decision was made that I had to be retrenched.”

She dismissed claims the company’s Mantsonyane branch was overstaffed.

“To my knowledge, there is still more staff needed (at the branch),” she said.

“That is why they have been employing a contract worker for more than five months now.”

Tsepe, meanwhile, confirmed to the Sunday Express the man who was harassing Ntaote had since been dismissed.

“The two of them were called for a disciplinary hearing and it was decided the manager should be expelled,” Tsepe said.

“The man has since lodged a complaint with the DDPR and the case will be heard on March 15.

“On the issue of missing stock, I’m not going to talk about that.

“This woman decided to go to the head office instead of reporting the matter to me first.”

Frasers Lesotho (Pty) Ltd director Lowis Vick declined to comment, saying the issues were now before the courts.

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