54 NSS agents face axe

54 NSS agents face axe

MASERU – AT least 54 National Security Service (NSS) agents are facing the boot in a major shake-up of the security agency, thepost can reveal.
The NSS human resource office has confirmed the development last night.

The 54 officers are said to possess tertiary educational qualifications way above what the NSS requires.
A job advert posted by the agency in February last year specifically cited that applicants should not possess university degree qualifications.
The agency said it only wanted applicants holding diplomas. Those holding a diploma in engineering were asked not to apply.
The NSS human resources offices said 88 spies were hired when there were only 50 vacancies.

The HR office said it was “yet to meet with the Minister of Defence to give us a go ahead as how to professionally deal with this issue”.
“The minister will guide us when to terminate their contracts,” said the officer in charge.
Defence Minister Sentje Lebona declined to comment saying it should be the NSS office talking about the issue.
The HR NSS office said the flaws were committed by the former government.

The office could however not comment if there will be any compensation for those officers who will be fired from their positions.
The office said the pending dismissal of the officers had nothing to do with their political affiliation.
thepost was told yesterday that some of the applicants were as old as 37 when they were appointed, way above the required age of 25.
Some had qualifications like Bsc in Engineering and degrees in Business Management.
The hiring of the new officers was done in batches.

Several attempts to find out from the current government how the flaws were committed proved fruitless.
“I do not know how these people were hired. I was not in this office when the hiring took place,” the HR officer said.
Contacted for comment, former Minister of Defence Tšeliso Mokhosi came out with guns blazing.

Mokhosi said it is inhumane that there are Basotho children who will be fired from the NSS because of age disparity and possessing higher qualifications.
He said during his first days as the Minister of Defence, he oversaw the graduation of a son of one of the NSS directors who was above the age of 30.
The names of that director and that of her son have been withheld because she could not be contacted for comment.
“I never expelled him,” he said.

Mokhosi said if the new government is mulling changes, such changes should cut across all departments.
He said the move by the new government to boot out the intelligence officers is uncalled for.
Mokhosi said one of the discrepancies that he discovered when he arrived at the ministry was that there were about two to three NSS officers who had Standard 7 qualifications.
“But I still could not expel them,” he said.

He said NSS officers have to write reports and sometimes in English. And it is difficult to expect someone with just a Standard 7 qualification to write a professional report.
The former minister claimed that his decision to employ people who had degrees was better because those people could be trained in specialised programmes and specialities.
Mokhosi said he was determined to change the NSS and turn it into a sophisticated institution.

“There was nothing really bad (that we did). Those people were not over-paid,” he said. He said there is massive joblessness in Lesotho.

And he was looking forward to bridge some job gaps for Basotho children.  Mokhosi is the deputy leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy which is the second biggest opposition party after the Democratic Congress. “We are not surprised. This is what Leabua (Jonathan) used to do,” he said.
He said he expects to see more Basotho in the army, the police and the correctional service being booted out from their jobs very soon.
The NSS is under a new director, Pheello Ralenkoane, who was appointed last month.

Majara Molupe

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