3000 teachers plucked off payroll

3000 teachers plucked off payroll

MASERU – CLOSE to 3 000 teachers have been deleted from the payroll after the government botched the implementation of the controversial no-work-no-pay policy.

The ministry, then under Professor Ntoi Rapapa, sought to identify teachers who participated in the strike in a bid to punish them by cutting their salaries.

Instead, the ministry bungled the exercise resulting in some striking teachers being paid while those who were reporting for work were removed from the payroll.

On Monday, officials from the ministry appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to explain how the mistake happened.  The officials came under pressure from PAC chairman Selibe Mochoboroane, to relist the teachers on the payroll and ensure that they receive their salaries.

Mochoboroane instructed the ministry to ensure that teachers are paid their dues or measures will be taken against the principal secretary.
The Principal Secretary, Dr. Thabiso Lebese, told the committee that the ministry is trying hard to pay teachers “whose names were erroneously deleted from the government’s data base”.

Lebese told the committee that the ministry had been advised to pay September and October salaries at the same time.
Lebese said the ministry encountered “challenges” when it tried to pay using vouchers.

He said the process of paying the teachers has been slow, indicating that the ministry is unlikely to pay the outstanding amounts by December.
Lebese told the committee that only 10 files were processed on Monday.

He said due to the challenges, the ministry is pleading with the Accountant-General to allow payments to be pushed to the 18th of November.
Lebese said staff has been working during weekends and even after hours to clear the backlog. New Education Minister, Mokoto Hloaele, last week said 2 843 teachers were mistakenly wiped off the Human Resource system, resulting in them failing to get their September salaries.

He said this at a meeting with stakeholders held at the ministry’s offices shortly after he was moved from the Ministry of Energy to the Education Ministry.

Hloaele said the teachers’ salary debacle was just one of a myriad of challenges faced by his ministry. Restoring the education system to “normality” is going to be a herculean task, he said at the meeting, where he also appealed for unity to work out the problems besetting the education sector.

“Together we can,” Hloaele told the stakeholders.
“Let us become one, the challenges will be easy to solve,” he said.
Lesotho School Principal Association (LESPA) president Tšepo Lethobane said the government should treat the teachers’ salary saga as a high priority issue.

Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) secretary-general ’Mapitso Molai said the union would continue to demand answers from the minister until the salaries issue is resolved. Molai said the ‘no work no pay’ principle should be reversed. “The manner in which the principle was done should be reversed and teachers be paid,” she said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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