Drama at sports ministry

Drama at sports ministry

MASERU-THERE was drama at the Ministry of Sports offices in Maseru on Monday after African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 workers who were fired in August ago stormed the premises.
The workers were fired shortly after Sports Minister Likeleli Tampane assumed office. She alleged the workers were hired un-procedurally.

The workers said they were reporting for duty and were ready to take up their positions.
They argued that they had won a labour case against the minister and should therefore be reinstated.
For the whole morning the 36 workers occupied the offices, tampering with the smooth running of business.

They only left after lunch.
The 36 workers, forming the AUSC Region 5 Local Organising Committee, were hired during the tenure of Dr Mahali Phamotse who was sports minister in 2018.
Dr Phamotse on Monday condemned the decision to fire the workers saying it was politically motivated.

“Those people will be helpful to the country, there is no need for politically motivated decisions like this one,” Dr Phamotse said.

The games were scheduled for December this year but have since been postponed indefinitely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Phamotse told thepost that she only heard about the workers storming the ministry’s premises after she received some phone calls from friends.
She said she later found out from the courts that the workers had won their case adding that they went to the ministry’s office because they understood that they had to be reinstated.

She also said it is not true that she was the one who instructed the workers to go to the offices as she did not even know about the outcome of their court case.
“I only know now that they won the case but I also found out that the ministry had appealed against the Labour Court decision,” she said.
Dr Phamotse said the Region 5 Youth Games is a project and the method of recruiting staff is different from the normal hiring of civil servants.
“Its terms and conditions are clear and we should not compare them with how the public service recruits.”

She said it would be wrong to argue that the recruitment of the workers was unlawful as had been claimed.
“People should stop telling the nation lies because a project is a project,” Dr Phamotse said.
She said their contracts are not governed by the public service but the ministry through the project office and the project funds.

The Sports Ministry’s spokesman, Maqalika Matsepe, said their ministry appealing after the Labour Court ruled in favour of the employees.
“We are awaiting the Labour Appeal Court judgment,” Matsepe said.
He said they were told the workers claimed to be reporting at work as they are workers, “but one could expect them to go to the Principal Secretary’s office”.

Matsepe said they went to the sixth floor instead of the third floor where the principal secretary’s office is located.
He also said people who are reporting to work are not expected to gather in the office’s passages, adding that if they continue protesting that way the ministry will have to stop them.
Matsepe however said the ministry was still to receive the Labour Court judgment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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