Fired PSS cry foul over exit pack­ages

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

FOR­MER Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­taries (PSS) and the for­mer Govern­ment Sec­re­tary (GS) Moahloli Mphaka have ac­cused the govern­ment of act­ing in bad faith by fail­ing to pay their exit pack­ages in full af­ter the ter­mi­na­tion of their con­tracts last Au­gust.

The for­mer PSS were among sev­eral se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials who were given their march­ing or­ders last year by Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili’s ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause they had been ap­pointed dur­ing the “old regime” led by for­mer premier Thomas Tha­bane, whose ten­ure ended af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions.

The PSS who spoke to the Le­sotho Times said they had been promised their full exit pack­ages by end of Septem­ber 2015.

Thato Mo­ha­soa (De­fence), Re­filoe Matekane (Po­lice), Tahleho Ma­bethe (Labour and Em­ploy­ment),te­bello Tha­bane (Law and Con­sti­tu­tional Affairs), Li­makatso Chisepo (So­cial De­vel­op­ment), Le­bo­hang Phooko (Pub­lic Works and Trans­port), ‘Ma­phutheho Ranooe (Min­ing) and Ran­thomeng Matete (Home Affairs) were of­fered “buy out” pack­ages last July and signed ter­mi­na­tion of em­ploy­ment con­tracts on 25 Au­gust 2015.

The PSS’ var­i­ous con­tracts were set to ex­pire this year and in 2017.

Mr Mphaka, whose con­tract would have ended in Novem­ber 2017, vol­un­tar­ily asked to be given an exit pack­age and was re­placed in Septem­ber 2015 by Le­bo­hang Ramohlanka.

The ter­mi­na­tion con­tracts, a copy of which the Le­sotho Times has in pos­ses­sion, were signed by then act­ing GS Em­manuel Le­soma and head­lined “Mu­tual Agree­ment of Ter­mi­na­tion of Em­ploy­ment Con­tract”.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, the govern­ment (re­ferred in the ter­mi­na­tion con­tract as party of the first part) was ob­li­gated to pay the for­mer PSS (re­ferred in the ter­mi­na­tion con­tract as party of the se­cond part) out­stand­ing salaries un­til the ex­piry of their con­tracts and gra­tu­ity at the rate of 25 per­cent of salary cal­cu­lated to the end of the em­ploy­ment con­tract.

Govern­ment was also li­able for such ben­e­fits as hous­ing al­lowance, pay­ment for wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, elec­tric­ity us­age, home tele­phone us­age, cell phone us­age for the re­main­der of the pe­riod of the con­tract.

The state also com­mit­ted it­self to fa­cil­i­tate pay­ments of statu­tory con­tri­bu­tions to the for­mer PSS by the Pub­lic Of­fi­cers’ De­fined Con­tri­bu­tion Pen­sion Fund “with in­ter­est cal­cu­lated to the end of the em­ploy­ment con­tract”.

“By the end of Septem­ber 2015, the party of the first part shall pay the party of the se­cond part the amounts rep­re­sent­ing the to­tal­ity of the amounts.

“This agree­ment has been con­cluded on the ba­sis that the par­ties shall be li­able to this agree­ment in con­form­ity with the rel­e­vant laws of Le­sotho,” reads part of the con­tract.

How­ever, Mr Mphaka told the Le­sotho Times on Tues­day that he is yet to re­ceive his gra­tu­ity as agreed in the ter­mi­na­tion con­tract.

“The only pay­ment I re­ceived was of my salary from the day of ter­mi­na­tion to 2017, the year which my em­ploy­ment con­tract was sup­posed to end,” Mr Mphaka said.

“I haven’t re­ceived my gra­tu­ity, and it is very sad be­cause there is no clause in the agree­ment say­ing I would be paid in in­stal­ments. The agree­ment is clear that I should have re­ceived ev­ery­thing due to me by the end of Septem­ber 2015.

“It is also un­for­tu­nate for the govern­ment not to com­ply with the clauses of the con­tract be­cause an agree­ment needs to be re­spected. Un­like my col­leagues, I asked for my march­ing or­ders but the agree­ments are sim­i­lar.”

Asked if there had been any ex­pla­na­tion from govern­ment about the de­lay, Mr Mphaka said: “No one has said any­thing to me of­fi­cially. I am only hear­ing ru­mours from some of my col­leagues that we might be paid by the end of Jan­uary.”

On his part, Mr Mo­ha­soa said the govern­ment was be­ing “dis­re­spect­ful” by fail­ing to hon­our its com­mit­ment to pay off all his ben­e­fits by the end of Septem­ber 2015. He said govern­ment was adding in­sult to in­jury by re­main­ing silent on the is­sue de­spite de­fault­ing for over three months.

“It is very un­pro­fes­sional and dis­re­spect­ful for the govern­ment to re­main silent about the de­lay be­cause when they told me to va­cate the De­fence PS’S of­fice, I duly com­plied,” said Mr Mo­ha­soa.

“I now want the ben­e­fits I am en­ti­tled to. It is strange that the prime min­is­ter has been brag­ging about spend­ing M15 mil­lion in the mas­sive shakeup of the pub­lic ser­vice yet we have not been fully paid.

“I re­ally won­der where the M15 mil­lion went. The agree­ment states that all the ben­e­fits should have been paid by the end of Septem­ber 2015.”

Mr Ma­bethe also told the Le­sotho Times he was yet to get his exit pack­age in full adding that he had been “greatly” in­con­ve­nienced by the de­lay.

“My em­ploy­ment con­tract was sup­posed to ex­pire in July 2017, and since I am no longer in the pub­lic ser­vice I in­tend to start some in­come-gen­er­at­ing projects,” he said.

“How­ever, the de­lay in the pay­ment of my full ben­e­fits has greatly in­con­ve­nienced me since I also have other fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions that need to be at­tended to.

“It is very dis­ap­point­ing that govern­ment has failed to keep its word be­cause we had an agree­ment and a clear time frame.”

Chief Matete and Mr Phooko also con­firmed not re­ceiv­ing their ben­e­fits in full.

Ms Chisepo, Mr Tha­bane, Mrs Ranohe and Mr Matekane, how­ever, could not be reached for com­ment yes­ter­day, but it is un­der­stood they are in the same predica­ment.

Mean­while, Pub­lic Of­fi­cers’ De­fined Con­tri­bu­tion Pen­sion Fund spokesper­son, Ma­chona Le­balele, said the fired PSS’ per­sonal files were yet to be sub­mit­ted to the agency, hence the de­lay.

“Each pub­lic ser­vant has a per­sonal file from the min­istry he or she was work­ing for. Be­fore the De­fined Con­trib­u­tors Pen­sion Fund can pay gra­tu­ities or pen­sion for any pub­lic ser­vant, the file should have been sub­mit­ted to us,” Mr Le­balele said.

“With re­gards to the for­mer PSS, some of their files are not here. Some of the for­mer PSS came here but were told that pro­ce­du­rally, the files need to go to the Min­istry of Fi­nance for as­sess­ment first be­fore they can be sub­mit­ted here. “Af­ter re­ceiv­ing files with all the re­quired doc­u­ments, the pay­ments would be made promptly.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, the new GS, Ms Ramohlanka, said: “I will make a fol­low up to find out far the process (of pay­ing the ben­e­fits) has gone. How­ever, I can­not give you any more de­tails on that is­sue now be­cause I am in a meet­ing.”

Ef­forts to con­tact Fi­nance Min­is­ter ‘ Mam­phono Khaketla were fruit­less yes­ter­day as her phone rang unan­swered be­fore be­com­ing un­reach­able.

For­mer gs Moahloli Mphaka

For­mer De­fence Ps Thato Mo­ha­soa.

For­mer Labour Ps Tahleho Ma­bethe

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