Teacher trade unionist fights suspension

Teacher trade unionist fights suspension

MASERU-FIERY trade unionist, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, who was suspended from his teaching job earlier this month for allegedly missing classes has launched a counter-offensive against the Teaching Service Department (TSD).
Ntsibolane, who is also the spokesman for the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT), was suspended on January 18 at a time when he was leading the preparation of a nationwide strike.

His lawyer Advocate Borenahabokhethe Sekonyela told the TSD that “all allegations contained in your letter are unfounded and meant to harass our client as no proof provided thereof, they are therefore vehemently denied”.
Advocate Sekonyela said the government’s “letter was meant to threaten (Ntsibolane) from participating in the affairs of the legally registered trade union”.

“We wish to inform you that the so-called recommendations from your inspectors to dismiss our client from the teaching service (are) null and void,” the letter says.
“They failed to afford our client any hearing at all and thus failed (to obtain) his side of the story nor follow any of the legally stipulated procedures in terms of the law,” Sekonyela said in the letter.

He further argued in the letter that this consequently renders the so-called report of inspection against his client irregular, null and void and of no effect in law.
“We are also instructed to advise you that we are to instate legal action against you personally and you will thus face serious legal consequences if you will not refrain from threatening our client for taking part in the LAT affairs as a registered trade union,” the letter added.

Ntsibolane’s suspension came after it became clear that the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) was going to award the teachers’ union with a certificate to hold a lawful strike.
The suspension letter said Ntsibolane must “show cause” why the TSD could not uphold the recommendation of the schools’ inspectors to dismiss him from the teaching service.

It reads: “The commission is in receipt of a report of inspection carried out at your school on 15th November 2018 wherein you are alleged to have been negligent in performing your duties…”

Ntsibolane is accused of announcing “an illegal strike for teachers” and urged teachers to participate in the strike.
“You absented yourself from duty on the days of the illegal strike,” the letter reads, referring to last year’s general strike by the teachers in the last quarter of the academic year.

“You illegally engaged on different occasions one Palesa Maapesa, Nthati Maboee and Teboho Pheane to stand in and perform your teaching duties while you were absent from school,” it reads.
Ntsibolane is a teacher at Lithabaneng High School.

Nkheli Liphoto

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