MASERU – African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games’ local officials and volunteers have still not been paid more than a month after the premier event. The regional games took place in Maseru from December 3 to 12, 2021, and the Local Organising Sub-Committees’ officials (also called Technical Clusters’ officials) as well as Technical Volunteers had hoped to receive their promised payments before the Christmas holidays. But Public Eye can reveal that this has not happened to date while, on the other hand, the Technical Officials were paid on time.
“Technical Volunteers and the Local Organising Sub-Committees for the Games have not been paid as yet,” revealed one source close to the organising team speaking to Public Eye recently. “Mind you, these are the most important people who made the Games successful, and it doesn’t sound like they will receive their money anytime soon,” he said speaking on condition he remains unidentified.
Officials who are still owed include Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, and Mojapela ’Mefane a Judo official. Makara and ’Mefane have since confirmed that they had not yet been paid for their role at the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games. Makara said the Technical Officials were all paid a week before the Christmas break, indicating he had also hoped to receive his money around that time.
“We were hoping to get paid on the same days that the technical officials were paid but that did not happen and I can see that it is not going to be the case even this month,” said Thibinyane in an interview with Public Eye on Monday this week. There were 11 Cluster Officials in all at the games and Makara said all of them have not been paid. “We were 11 Technical Clusters’ officials and all of us have not yet been paid,” he said.
Thibinyane said this was despite the fact they had started working for the success of the games since August last year, compared to the other Technical Officials whose scope of work was only to officiate, and, therefore, had to start working when the Games commenced. “Technical Clusters’ officials represented (local sports) federations and, as an athletics official, I was also representing World Athletics.
To be precise, my role was to make sure that all the required athletics equipment was there…and we started working in August.” He also confirmed that none of the games’ volunteers has been paid, saying “even the volunteers have not yet been paid. Remember that every sporting code had volunteers and here we are talking about over 800 people.”
The FAL secretary further revealed that as Technical Clusters’ officials they had also not been provided with the games’ official attire like other officials. For his part the judo official, ’Mefane, said: “Yes, we have not yet been paid but we are still hoping that we will eventually be paid. But we have been promised that our payment will be soon be processed, even though we don’t know when. Therefore, we are also awaiting receipt of our money along with judo and taekwondo volunteers.”
In a separate interview, AUSC Region 5 Youth Games Local Organising Committee’s Chief Executive Officer, Morake Raleaka, though admitting that the Technical Clusters’ officials have not been paid, indicated that “they were not the only people who were yet to be paid, among those who offered services at the Region 5 Youth Games.” “Yes, they are yet to be paid and are not the only people who are yet to get their payment for services rendered at the Games,” said Raleaka.
“It’s just because of the issue of liquidation on the side of the Government of Lesotho but the Ministry of Finance has promised that they are mobilising funds and would make them available to the Ministry of Sports as soon as possible.” Raleaka said he’s convinced that the funds would eventually be available, saying the government has made the just-ended Games a priority. He also explained that the Technical Officials are supposed to be paid by the region (AUSC Region 5) and not by the government of Lesotho.
“The Technical Officials are paid by the region and not by the hosting country’s government. This has changed recently after they boycotted games in one previous host country after delays in their payment.” Raleaka said since the incident, Technical Officials are paid some of their fees on the second day of officiating and that the remaining balance is usually paid before the end of the games.
The LOC’s boss said other people who had not yet been paid are those who provided accommodation and transport. He said the transporters have only been paid about 40 percent of what they had charged.