Africa-Press – Lesotho. FOURTEEN part-time lecturers at the Lesotho Agricultural College say they have not been paid for the past two years. The lecturers, who spoke to thepost on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, said they have visited every relevant office but their issue has still not been addressed.
They said the college management had told them during several meetings that their issue was being handled by the Ministry of Agriculture, the college’s parent ministry.
They said they took their grievances to the ministry but they have still not been paid. They said they have also approached the Ministry of Education but have still not received a positive response.
The lecturers tried to pressure the college by withholding results last year. Students reacted by embarking on a violent protest that left a trail of destruction at the Maseru campus last June.
The lecturers refused to budge. On September 5 this year, the lecturers met the Minister of Agriculture Thabo Mofosi and Education Minister Professor Ntoi Rapapa.
The ministers pleaded with the lecturers to release the results while their dues were being processed. “We were told that the payment would be processed in three weeks,” said one of the lecturers who was at the meeting.
Weary and wary of empty promises, the teachers insisted on the ministers signing a letter promising to pay them in three weeks. The lecturers repeated this demand in another meeting with the ministers and the college management three days later.
“We wanted the ministers to make a pledge that we would get all pending salaries,” the lecturer said.
“We were told that our money is still with the Finance Ministry.
The lecturers released the results after the Ministry of Agriculture’s principal secretary, Maphakamile Xingwana, signed a letter promising to pay their salaries in three weeks.
But nothing came into their bank accounts when the three weeks lapsed at the end of September. And nothing came in October. The lecturers say they feel cheated and neglected.
Lereko Masupha, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture, said Ministers Mofosi and Rapapa are dealing with the issue. Masupha insisted that the Ministry of Public Service is working on including them in the government’s system so that they are paid.
The lecturers however said they are not hopeful because they have “heard those promises before”. Professor Rapapa asked thepost to give him the contact details of the complaining lecturers so that he could talk to them directly.
thepost refused because they spoke on condition of anonymity and the lecturers said they could only talk to the ministers as a group. Mofosi did not answer his phone for a comment.