MASERU — A senior civil servant has been fired after a physical confrontation with the prime minister’s son, Rethabile Mosisili, who is the deputy principal secretary in the Ministry of Gender.
’Mambulelo Motekase who was deputy youth development director in the ministry was fired on May 11.
The confrontation happened at the ministry headquarters at Post Office Building on December 23 last year during Motekase’s disciplinary hearing for which Mosisili was the chairperson.
Motekase was facing charges of insubordination and incompetence.
The charges had emanated from allegations that she had delayed the opening of two vocational training schools and delegated juniors to meet a Ugandan MP who had visited her office.
The Sunday Express can reveal that the fracas started after Motekase asked Mosisili to recuse himself as the hearing’s chairman because he had vested interests in the case.
Irked by that objection, Mosisili is alleged to have left his chair and approached Motekase who was seated on the other side of the table.
It is alleged that Mosisili then grabbed Motekase by the scruff of the neck and tried to drag her out of the room.
An official who witnessed the incident said as Mosisili was dragging her towards the door Motekase pulled out a pepper spray canister and sprayed it into his face.
“Mosisili caught this woman by the scruff of the neck and tried to push her towards the door but she pulled a pepper spray canister from within her clothes and sprayed him in the face,” said the witness who refused to be named for fear of retribution.
The witness said Mosisili screamed and ran out of the door but fell in the corridor because the spray had blinded him.
“Motekase was running after him and he got into the nearest office. She walked out of the building after failing to find him.”
Motekase went to the Maseru Central Police Station and laid an assault charge against Mosisili.
A police officer who was at the police station when Motekase arrived said “officers jumped at the mention of Mosisili’s name and none of them was prepared to handle the case”.
He said Motekase was only assisted after a senior officer intervened.
The policeman said as Motekase was reporting her case Mosisili called the station to report that she had assaulted him.
“As soon as Mosisili made his report one police officer turned to Motekase and asked if she is the one who ‘sprayed gas in the ministry’s offices and caused the people there to sneeze?’”
Four days after the incident the police arrested and detained Motekase for some hours.
She was released in the evening of the same day after attorney Haae Phoofolo intervened.
“Phoofolo asked why Mosisili was not arrested for assault because the lady had also lodged a case against him,” the source within Maseru Central police said.
Phoofolo has confirmed that he negotiated Motekase’s release.
“I am still waiting for further instruction from the lady,” Phoofolo said on Friday.
“She has also instructed me on a recent case of her dismissal from her job,” he added.
Mosisili allegedly took away Motekase’s office keys and she could not have access to the office until early January when she wrote him a letter telling him she needed to collect her bag.
She told Mosisili the bag contained cash and bank cards.
Motekase has also confirmed that she attacked Mosisili with pepper spray but refused to give further details saying it might jeopardise her case.
On May 11 she got her dismissal letter which was signed by Principal Secretary Tšeliso ’Mokela.
The letter said the dismissal was with immediate effect and stated her “disrespect to Mosisili” as one of the reasons for the decision.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed that the two cases of assault, one by Mosisili and another by Motekase, were opened. He however said the cases were later closed at the recommendation of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“Our police at the Maseru Central charge office confirm that there were such cases reported to them but were later closed at the recommendation of the DPP,” Masupha said.
Efforts to contact Mosisili were not available as he was said to be attending a meeting on Friday.
’Mokela was said to be on leave.