Labour min­is­ter sued over ap­point­ments

Sunday Express - - NEWS -

AFORMER and serv­ing Direc­torate of Dis­pute Preven­tion and Res­o­lu­tion (DDPR) of­fi­cials on Friday filed an ur­gent Labour Appeal Court ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing to block Labour Min­is­ter Thulo Mahlak­eng from ap­point­ing two new ar­bi­tra­tors.

Former DDPR ar­bi­tra­tor Malena Le­bone-Mo­foka and the in­sti­tu­tion’s Se­nior Case Man­age­ment Of­fi­cer, Ad­vo­cate Tšoana Mal­i­fuo Mapetla, con­tend the ap­point­ment of Te­boho Thoso and Ratšolo Thulo as ar­bi­tra­tors by Ad­vo­cate Mahlak­eng is “dis­crim­i­na­tory, ir­reg­u­lar and un­jus­ti­fi­able” be­cause the duo had not ap­plied for the post in the first place.

Ev­i­dence led in court is that Ms Le­bone-Mo­foka and Ad­vo­cate Mapetla had ap­plied and were sub­se­quently in­ter­viewed for the po­si­tion of ar­bi­tra­tor, not Messrs Thoso and Thulo.

The ap­pli­cants sub­mit through their lawyer Ad­vo­cate Le­tuka Mo­lati, that Ad­vo­cate Mahlak­eng, the Labour and Em­ploy­ment’s Principal Sec­re­tary (PS) Karabo Tl­hoeli, the min­istry’s In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Coun­cil and At­tor­ney-Gen­eral King’s Coun­sel ( KC) Tšokolo Makhethe did not give them rea­sons why they were not suc­cess­ful “when we had le­git­i­mate ex­pec­ta­tion to be in­formed of the rea­sons why we

(pic­tured)

were not suc­cess­ful in the in­ter­view.”

Ad­vo­cate Mahlak­eng, Ad­vo­cate Tl­hoeli, In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Coun­cil, KC Makhethe, Messrs Thoso and Thulo are cited as first to sixth re­spon­dents re­spec­tively in the mat­ter. Ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence led in court Mr Thoso is cur­rently a mag­is­trate in Mafeteng.

The ap­pli­cants want the court to de­ter­mine a date on which the re­spon­dents should “show cause, if any” why they should not be stopped from sign­ing em­ploy­ment con­tracts on per­ma­nent and pen­sion­able terms for Messrs Thoso and Thulo.

They want Ad­vo­cate Mahlak­eng, Ad­vo­cate Tl­hoeli, the In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Coun­cil and KC Makhethe to be or­dered to sub­mit to the reg­is­trar of the court “all doc­u­men­tary records of the peo­ple who had at­tended the em­ploy­ment in­ter­view for the post of ar­bi­tra­tor”.

The ap­pli­cants seek the court to de­clare the em­ploy­ment of Messrs Thoso and Thulo by the re­spon­dents “null and void”. They also want the court to or­der the re­spon­dents to em­ploy both ap­pli­cants in­stead.

Ms Le­bone-Mo­foka notes in her found­ing af­fi­davit that in June 2016, the In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Coun­cil pub­lished an ad- vert for the post of the ar­bi­tra­tor.

“The pub­li­ca­tion was made on the walls of the of­fices of the Direc­torate of Dis­pute Preven­tion and Res­o­lu­tion and the news­pa­pers. At the time I was still work­ing as an ar­bi­tra­tor in Maseru and my em­ploy­ment con­tract was due to end. I ap­plied for the said post of ar­bi­tra­tor d in June 2016 which was a day be­fore the clo­sure date for ac­cep­tance of ap­pli­ca­tions,” she says.

Ms Le­bone-Mo­foka states on 26 July 2016, she at­tended an in­ter­view at the in­vi­ta­tion of the In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Coun­cil sec­re­tary at the DDPR.

She says she met Ad­vo­cate Mapetla dur­ing the in­ter­view.

“I also ob­served that the other can­di­dates at­tend­ing the in­ter­view were Ms Senooe and Ms Ntene. I aver that only four can­di­dates at­tended the in­ter­view. I also ob­served that the posts that were va­cant for the po­si­tion of ar­bi­tra­tor were three.

“I aver that upon com­ple­tion of the in­ter­views we were told that we shall be con­tacted in writ­ing about the re­sults of the in­ter­view. We had a hope to be granted the posts in is­sue due to our re­spec­tive cur­ricu­lum vi­taes which speak for them­selves. I sub­mit that none of the fifth and sixth re­spon­dents have sim­i­lar or com­pa­ra­ble qual­i­fi­ca­tions as ours, that is, aca­demic cre­den­tials and ex­pe­ri­ence rel­e­vant to the work.”

Ms Le­bone-Mo­foka notes on 6 Oc­to­ber 2016, they learnt that there were three peo­ple who were given of­fers of em­ploy­ment as ar­bi­tra­tors, namely Ms Ntene, Messrs Thoso and Thulo.

“We fur­ther learned that they were served with em­ploy­ment of­fer let­ters which they were ex­pected to sign within 72 hours,” she says.

Ms Le­bone-Mo­foka ar­gues Messrs Thoso and Thulo did not ap­ply for the post. ost.

“. . .they werere not short­listed for in­ter­view;rview; they did not at­tend the in­ter­view.”

She sub­mitss the re­spon­dents’ con­ductduct “is re­view­able on thee grounds that: It is un­fairr to of­fer em­ploy­mentent to peo­ple who did not ap­ply, get short­listed andnd at­tend job in­ter­erview.”

Ms Le­bone-MoMo­foka also al­leges­ges Messrs Thoso andnd Thulo were peoeo­ple “well known”wn” to Ad­vo­cate Mahlh­lak­eng. She says Mr Thoso used to work for Ad­vo­cate Mahlak­eng when the min­is­ter was still a prac­tis­ing at­tor­ney un­der the of­fices of TT Mahlak­eng & Co. “This fact is no­to­ri­ously well known. Fifth re­spon­dent is presently em­ployed as a mag­is­trate while I am un­em­ployed. All pro­ce­dures for en­gage­ment of ar­bi­tra­tors were flouted. The process of of­fer­ing fifth and sixth re­spon­dents em­ploy­ment is ar­bi­trary and capri­cious. “It is ir­reg­u­lar in a free and demo­cratic so­ci­ety based on equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to work. I sub­mit that th the mat­ter herein is rid­dled with un­law­ful­ness of g great mag­ni­tude by the statu­tory of­fices of the go gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho,” M Ms Le­boneMo­foka con­tends. S Sunday Exp Ex­press was un un­able to es es­tab­lish th the date of h hear­ing of t the case be­fore the Labour Appeal Court at the time of go­ing to print.

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