Local Government Principal Secretary (PS) Maroane Liahelo Dingiswayo has been asked to leave her post with immediate effect and negotiate her exit package while on special leave.
Ms Dingiswayo said she received a letter from government on Thursday offering her an exit package and had already started negotiations for her departure.
Her “offer” letter is similar to those given to eight of her colleagues two weeks ago.
Thato Mohasoa (Defence), Refiloe Matekane (Police), Tahleho Mabethe (Labour and Employment),Tebello Thabane (Law and Constitutional Affairs), Limakatso Chisepo (Social Development), Lebohang Phooko (Public Works and Transport), ‘Maphutheho Ranooe (Mining) and Ranthomeng Matete (Home Affairs) were asked to go on 31 July with letters that read: “It is the wish of the government of Lesotho to terminate your employment contract as Principal Secretary. In order to realise this, the government wishes to offer a ‘buy out’ package as follows:
- Payment of your monthly salary up to the end of your employment contract.
- Payment of gratuity at the rate of 25 percent of the calculated salaries as stipulated in the employment contract.
- No payment of unutilised leave days. Public Service Regulations shall be applied to expend the leave days.
- Payment of combined contribution with interest made to the Defined Contribution Pension Fund.
- Payment of 30 percent housing allowance, water and electricity bills for the remaining duration of the employment contract.
- Payment of M500 home telephone monthly usage for the remaining duration of the employment contract.
- Payment of M800 cell-phone usage per month for the remaining duration of the employment contract”.
In addition, the PSs have been offered to purchase their official Lexus vehicles “at residual value”, and the entire exit packages paid within two months of the termination of the contracts.
Ms Dingiswayo yesterday told the Sunday Express that her contract was supposed to end in May 2017 she but had no problem leaving the job now.
“I received the letter on Thursday and started negotiations with the government immediately. My contract ends in May 2017 but I understand if the government of the day is not comfortable working with me, then I must go. I understand that ministers emphasised their discomfort about working with PSs from the previous coalition government”.
Asked if her dismissal had not come as a surprise since she belonged to one of the seven political parties constituting government, Ms Dingiswayo, who is a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), said: “The Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship and her deputy are from the Democratic Congress (DC), so I understand they might not be comfortable working with an LCD member.”
Meanwhile, Cabinet PS Mothabathe Hlalele has followed in the footsteps of Government Secretary (GS) Moahloli Mphaka, who has voluntarily asked to be given an exit package.
Mr Hlalele said he had approached Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Kimetso Mathaba, and asked to be released alongside the other PSs.
“I approached Mr Mathaba and asked to be released because of the pressure I am getting from the current coalition government.
“It must be clear that I have not been mistreated by government in any way, but felt I need to leave and let them appoint their own PS.
“I can’t ignore the fact that I was appointed during the previous government (headed by All Basotho Convention leader Thomas Thabane and was booted out of power after the 28 February 2015 snap elections).
“I acknowledge the fact that I work with sensitive cabinet issues, and the current government might be uncomfortable if I continue to be around, hence my request to go.
“Mr Mathaba said I should give him time to meet with the prime minister over my proposal so I am still awaiting feedback.”
However, Mr Mathaba yesterday said Mr Hlalele did not directly ask to be released from office but simply enquired whether his job was still secure.
The minister added: “People must be aware that when a government changes, certain administrative positions within government also change. That’s why in June and July, there were PSs who were sent on leave pending the termination of their contracts. And since they were in the same government with Mr Hlalele, this might have confused him because nothing was said to him about leaving his post.
“I will discuss the matter with the relevant authorities and give him feedback as soon as a decision has been made.”
Meanwhile, apart from the nine PSs whose employment is being terminated, government in June this year also told five others that their deals would not be renewed.
‘Machabana Lemphane-Letsie (Public Service), Teboho Mohlomi (Justice and Correctional Service), ‘Mataeli Sekhantšo (Cabinet-Economic Affairs), Moshoeshoe Sehloho (Tourism, Environmental and Cultural Affairs) and Dr Majara Molapo (Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation) were asked to go on special leave with immediate effect through letters dated 23 June 2015 and signed by Mr Mphaka.