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Appreciation is a fundamental human need. The truth is, everyone has a need to be respected and valued for their contribution.
Whether you are an individual or member of a group, when praise for your contribution is expressed, it gives a feeling of achievement for a valiant effort and/or work well done.
Whether there is a monetary compensation for that contribution or not is beside the point.
In the workplace it is no different. There is plenty of persuasive evidence to suggest that staff who receive recognition for their work are more likely to be satisfied, happy, and ultimately productive in the workplace — creating a win-win situation.

When appreciation is expressed through recognition of good work, employees feel affirmed and valued for their work contribution.
As a result of appreciation, they tend to respond positively towards the organisation they work for.
Their satisfaction is often reflected in rising productivity levels and in their motivation to maintain or improve their good work.
Thus, praise and recognition are absolutely vital to an outstanding workplace and enthusiastic workforce.
After all, nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, and recognition is a great source of enthusiasm.
Happy Employees = Happy Customers = Better Bottom Line

There are bottom line benefits that have been achieved through employee recognition efforts.
Correlation has long been established between employee and customer satisfaction, leading to strong employee and customer loyalty to companies.
This loyalty somehow directly flows to increased profitability. Thus, celebrating employees is not just for large organisations, it is for ALL organisations.
It is for private, public and not-for-profit organizations alike. There is no reason why your staff should go unrecognised — even something as simple as sending out cards can boost morale.
As Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, says, “always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
You have every reason to honor and celebrate your employees because without them you do not have a company.
Let’s face it, while a simple “thank you for a job well done” is easy enough, and is always appreciated, a creative employee recognition programme that goes beyond the traditional bonus pay is the essential to incentivizing and motivating employees.

Although money is important, it’s only a motivator when employees feel underpaid. Just like you have put programmes in place to satisfy and retain your customers, you do need to find creative ways to keep you employee satisfaction levels high to ensure when they walk out your door at knock-off time, they will be returning the following work day.
Why not remind your employees how great you are as a company?
You may be having a very effective and innovative rewards programme.
You may have carried out employee surveys to determine exactly what motivates your workforce and that has already shaped your employee recognition and retention strategies you have put in place.

I suggest, by no means, that you take away or rubbish all your hard work in this regard.
But be that as it may, you may want to ensure that at the time when your employees are taking stock of their achievements for the year, and listing their new year resolutions with determination to change careers and/or work environments in the coming year, you “appeal” to their conscience to consider that you have not just been good, but great, to them, and that you plan to make their loyalty to you worth their while.
You want to remind them that as they consider greener pastures in the New Year, it is much greener inside your company than anywhere else they may contemplate going, especially if they plan to join your competitor.

There is no opportune moment than the end of the year for managers to reward the efforts of their staff.
With the holidays and season of giving upon us, the opportunities are even bigger!
It is a perfect time to reflect on the business year and successful milestones that have been hit, while appreciating your coworkers, partners, and staff.
So what can you possibly do to help staff feel valued and celebrated as the year draws to a close? Here are some ideas on how to celebrate employees:
1.    Reflect on performance of individuals and give feedback — even if it’s not formal perfomance review cycle yet. Using examples from the entire year of how they performed to satisfaction and beyond, express your views on how you think they need to build on their strengths and overcome weaknesses.
2.    Target relevant platforms to show company pride and celebrate company success — including on Social Media. Post ‘throwbacks’ of team events, milestones achieved or perhaps a video capturing memorable events of the year.

Do attribute your company success to employees, and profile them as successful employees so they, in turn, take pride in being associated with your company.
3.    While you celebrate your successes, review and communicate company strategic goals and up-coming programmes.
Ensure that your goals are owned by your employees, and will not only be attainable, but will challenge them to do great.
Letting your employees in on big company initiatives will give them something to look forward to in the New Year and even make them want to come back so they can partake in those initiatives.
4.    Enjoy a moment outside the office. It’s always a welcome change to meet colleagues away from work and have something fun to do. This doesn’t have to be a big party that leaves a dent in your balance sheet.

Treat employees to an annual luncheon, do a bowling game, or going out for cocktails is a great way to de-stress.
It also makes employees feel appreciated and excited about the future with the company.
It is not always possible for businesses to spend big, so smaller touches can prove just as effective.
Whatever you decide, make sure everyone knows that their commitment has not been overlooked over the past 12 months.
Always find out what motivates your workforce, and make sure your rewards and recognition programme is synchronised with that.

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LEC to switch off households over debts



MASERU – The Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) will from Tuesday next week begin switching off clients who owe it money.

The LEC issued a seven-day ultimatum to all customers who owe it on Tuesday last week. The deadline ends on Monday.

It is expected that the LEC will begin switching off households that have defaulted.

The state-owned power company, however, is not going to touch any government department or business entities that owe it on grounds that they are in payment negotiations.

The LEC move comes barely two weeks after it cut electricity supplies to the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) thus causing it to fail to pump water to communities countrywide for more than two days.

The LEC says it is owed close to M200 million by government departments, businesses and individuals.

The LEC spokesman, Tšepang Ledia, told thepost that the government and the businesses will not have their electricity cut because they are in negotiations.

“We are in negotiations with the government and businesses and hopefully they will pay,” Ledia said.

“We advise the ordinary people to pay their debts before the 20th of March 2023 or else we cut the services,” he said.

The LEC says it is running short of funds for its daily operations.

In December last year the company increased power tariffs by 7.9 percent on both energy and maximum demand charges across all customer categories for the Financial Year 2022/23.

Last week the LEC boss, Mohato Seleke, said postpaid consumers and sundry debtors owe the company M169.4 million.

He said unless the debtors pay he will be unable to buy electricity from ’Muela Hydropower Project, Eskom in South Africa and Mozambique’s EDM.

This, he said, could cause serious load shedding in the country and could be devastating for businesses.

Seleke said the LEC spends M630 million monthly to buy electricity.

“If postpaid consumers do not settle their debts this could prevent the LEC from being able to buy electricity which can lead the country to encounter load-shedding,” Seleke said.

Seleke said collecting debt from government department ministries was a challenge as there is an understanding that since LEC is a state-owned company, it will continue supplying government agencies with electricity and they will settle their bills when they have funds to do so.

Seleke said the LEC has lost M21 million to vandalism during this financial year.

Relebohile Tšepe

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Bumper payout for former mineworkers



MASERU – AT least 11 316 current as well as former mine workers are set for a bumper payout after Tshiamiso Trust began disbursing the first billion Maloti to workers who are suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis.

The payment comes two years after Tshiamiso Trust began processing claims for the historical M5 billion settlement agreement between mineworkers and six gold mines in South Africa.

Speaking at the payment announcement in Maseru last week, the Trust’s CEO, Lusanda Jiya, said it has been two years since they officially began accepting claims.

“Our people come to work every day with the mission of impacting lives for the better, and the first billion rand paid out to over 11 000 families is just the beginning,” Jiya said.

“We know that there is no compensation that will ever be enough to undo the suffering endured by mine workers and their families,” he said.

“However, we are committed to deliver our mandate and ensure that every family that is eligible for compensation receives it.”

Jiya said the Trust is limited both in terms of the time in which they can operate, and the extent to which they can assist those seeking compensation.

Broadly speaking, the eligibility criteria include among others that the mineworker must have worked at one of the qualifying gold mines between March 12, 1965 and December 10, 2019.

Secondly, living mineworkers must have permanent lung damage from silicosis or TB and deceased mine workers representatives must have evidence that proves that they (the deceased) died from TB or Silicosis.

Tshiamiso Trust has a lifespan of 12 years, ending in February 2031.

Over 111 000 claims have been received to date, through offices in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini, and Mozambique.

The Trust is working with stakeholders in these countries and others to mobilise its efforts and expand operations.

The history of silicosis in South Africa goes back to the late 1880’s when the first gold mines began operations.

The gold was stored and locked in quartz, a special rock that contains large amounts of silica.

Crystallised silica particles can cause serious respiratory damage if inhaled.

In the earlier days of gold mining, dust control, health and safety standards and the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) were not as advanced as they are today.

Tshiamiso Trust was established in 2020 to give effect to the settlement agreement reached between six mining companies.

The companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Gold Fields.

The settlement agreement was reached and made after a ruling by the Johannesburg High Court as a result of a historic class action by former and current mineworkers against the six gold mines.

Justice for Miners is a coalition of interested parties in the mining sector launched at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg in 2020.

The Johannesburg High Court approved the setting up of the Tshiamiso Trust to facilitate payment by the companies to affected miners.

Keith Chapatarongo

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Farmers cry over cost of livestock feed



MASERU – Lehlohonolo Mokhethi is a farmer who has been running a successful poultry business, thanks to a small loan he got from a local bank.

He now has 300 chickens.

He says his vision is to rear 5 000 chickens by 2025 and employ 30 youths. But he is now grappling with a new challenge: the ever increasing cost of chicken feed.

That is threatening the viability of his business.

“The biggest challenge is that food prices increase every day, feeding is expensive,” Mokhethi said.

“It is quite difficult to make profit in business if each and every day food prices increase. Today I am buying a bag of food with a certain amount then the next day the price has increased,” he says.

“Our customers fail dismally to understand that food has increased and the Chinese are taking our market because they sell at a low price thus I run at a loss.”

Last week, a top attorney in Maseru who is also a prominent farmer, Tiisetso Sello-Mafatle, called a meeting for farmers to discuss these challenges.

She says the government must regulate the prices of livestock feed.

That is critical if the farming business is to succeed, she says.

Attorney Sello-Mafatle says farmers must come up with a structure for livestock feed prices which they would present to the government for gazetting.

“We should state our regulations and give them to the government to make everything easy for both parties because we cannot wait for the government to make regulations for us,” Sello-Mafatle says.

She adds that “farmers should be bullish about what they want and never have fear endorsing new things”.

“I will not be challenged or cry (because of) what life throws at me but I will cry when things are not happening the right way,” she says.

Mafatle says farmers need to know who they are and know the capabilities they have.

“This will help a farmer in becoming the best in any field they are in once they are confident about themselves,” she says.

Karabo Lijo, another participant, said they have to influence the cost of inputs in agriculture, especially livestock feed.

“We have to go back to cost-price analysis where as farmers we are able to derive the selling price and the break-even point in our production,” Lijo said.

“We can also derive the stable or constant mark-ups on our products,” he said.

“We need to do research to increase the ability to produce byproducts which are likely to have the longest shelve life,” he said.

The meeting urged farmers to diversify their products by introducing such things as mushroom farming. They said mushrooms can grow very well in Lesotho due to its favourable climate.

The farmers also demanded that there should be regulations on how land can be sold or borrowed in Lesotho.

Tholoana Lesenya and Alice Samuel

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