Lesotho: Foreign Affairs Employees Transferred After Suing Ministry

Eight of the 17 civil servants who are suing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations for "unfairly" overlooking them in the deployments to foreign missions have been served with transfer letters to other ministries.

The eight are Khotso Mabaso (transferred to the Public Works ministry), Ngaka Ramoroke (to Labour and Employment), 'Nyane Moeti (to Tourism, Lebohang Tlhoriso (to Public Service), 'Mapuleng Mokitimi (to Communications, Science and Technology), David Ntheola (to Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation) 'Mathapelo Kanono to Defence and National Security) and Thakane Thene (to Mining).

The transfer letters are dated 28 April 2021 and the transfers are with effect from 3 May 2021.

No reasons were given for the transfers. Public Service Principal Secretary (PS) Mole Khumalo who signed the transfer letters declined to comment on the issue yesterday. He referred all questions to the Foreign Affairs and International Relations PS Tanki Mothae who said he could not comment because he was in a meeting.

However, one of the staffers who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said the transfer could have been punishment after they and nine others sued the Foreign Affairs ministry two months ago.

Their nine co-applicants who have not received any transfer letters, Acting Director Legal Affairs 'Malefa Manong, Rethabile Ramalefane Matobo, Mothepane Mokati, Paballo 'Matentekie Nkhahle, Rabele Makoa, Setloke Lekhela, Nofikile Patala Mofana, 'Masefora Tšolo and Realeboha Sethathi.

Foreign Affairs Minister 'Matšepo Ramakoae, the Public Service Commission, the Ministry of Public Service, Foreign Affairs PS Tanki Mothae, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Human Resource Manager and the Attorney General are the first to sixth respondents respectively.

The 17 accuse the respondents of unfairly overlooking them when filling vacant positions in foreign missions in violation of Public Service Act.

They accuse the PSC of ignoring the principles of fairness, transparency, merit and equality when appointing unnamed people to serve in the country's diplomatic missions earlier this year.

They argue that the appointments are made on the basis of political expediency given that the positions were not advertised in accordance with the public service legislation.

They want the High Court to intervene and compel the respondents to consider them for appointments as they say they stand to suffer irreparable harm if they are deprived of their right to participate in the recruitment process because they hold required educational qualifications and have been trained in diplomacy.

The 17 also want the High Court to compel the respondents to disclose names of candidates considered for appointments or those already appointed to foreign missions. Their application is pending in the High Court.

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