Ntsibolane says battle not over

Ntsibolane says battle not over

MASERU – NEWLY elected Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) secretary general, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, has warned that teachers will resort to strike action if their demands are not met.

Ntsibolane won the secretary general’s post against his rival Thaabe Kulehile.
Kulehile is the former LAT’s secretary general.
The hotly contested election was held last weekend in Khubetsoana’s Examination Council of Lesotho (ECOL) Hall.

“We are still facing a challenge of teachers’ grievances that have not been addressed,” Ntsibolane said.
“We are yet to sit down and plan the way forward on what is to be done with the teachers’ grievances.”

He said the “strike is still on the cards” because “this new committee will start from where the former ended”.
He said the power of a trade union stems from its policy position and leadership.

Ntsibolane said their association’s plans to resort to strike are still there even though the old committee is gone.
“We might do that or do something bigger than that,” he said.
He said they wanted to inform parents that if the politicians fail to solve their grievances, the union will seek fresh ways to force the employer to bow to their demands.

Ntsibolane said there are challenges that they still face as the government only tells them that they are paying teachers but do not disclose the numbers and the names of such people as evidence.

He said the teachers’ struggle for better pay will be prolonged if it is not solved in time so that teachers focus on giving students quality education.
Ntsibolane said some parents are politicians and keep on going to political rallies to cheer when politicians talk petty things without telling them what they are doing to solve serious issues facing the nation.

He urged parents to “try and talk to politicians, or the students will suffer”.
He said Basotho might as well organise mass protests to support teachers in their fight to make their grievances heard.
The cabinet appointed the Minister of Communications, Chief Thesele ’Maseribane, to lead a ministerial team tasked with looking into the grievances raised by the teachers.

Chief ’Maseribane threatened the teachers, telling them that the government would withhold the salaries of those who did not report for work.
However, the threats did not stop the teachers from striking.
Other complaints raised by the teachers include the government’s decision to remove the responsibility to manage employer-employee affairs from school boards.

They said this affects the stability of schools because the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) does not give due consideration to teachers chosen by school boards but to its own appointees.
The teachers further complained that the formation of the Teaching Service Commission was not done procedurally.
They also protested that some schools did not have substantive principals for more than five years.

A Bill tabled in Parliament last year giving the minister power to barge into schools and take action against teachers without following due disciplinary processes is another bone of contention.
The teachers argued that this is not only against the dictates of good governance but also gives too much power to the Ministry of Education over the fate of teachers.

This leaves the leaders of teachers’ associations at the risk of being fired at the minister’s whim as punishment for representing their members.
The new committee comprises of Kabelo Maqache as the president, Tsekang Leoto as his deputy, Letsatsi Ntsibolane as the secretary general, Mpati Letsika as treasurer and Kabelo Moorosi as the publications officer.
’Mabokang Mdandalaza was elected public relations officer while Nthabiseng Bulane was elected gender officer and ’Mathaabe Majara as the secondary teachers’ representative.

’Mabokang Kalaka was elected the primary teachers’ representative while Motlatsi Khamali was elected the sports and cultural activities teachers’ representative.
Mponeng Nape and Lineo Moshanyana were elected as ordinary members.

Nkheli Liphoto

 

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