Sports commission reluctant to endorse minister’s choice
MASERU – Tension is brewing over the appointment of the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC)’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Public Eye can reveal that the commission’s board is hesitant to validate sports minister Likeleli Tampane’s appointee. According to sources close to the matter, Tampane has appointed Thabo Tseki as the LSRC’s new CEO, an appointment which should be endorsed by the commission’s board. The publication has established that Tseki, currently working for the Ministry of Sports, was appointed last month and is supposed to have taken over the reigns as CEO on January 1.
“According to the minister’s recommendation, Tseki was supposed to start work from January 1, 2022, but because LSRC seems unhappy with this appointment they have ignored it and kept mum,” the source added. This reluctance by the LSRC to validate Tseki’s appointment is, according to our sources, evidence enough that the committee is dissatisfied with Tampane’s choice.
“In fact, the minister can only make a recommendation. The appointment is done by the LSRC board,” said one source. “But you can also see that the minister calls the shots since the commission is the right arm of the sports ministry, which is the reason why she has written to the LSRC recommending Tseki’s appointment,” the source said. But LSRC president, Jobo Raswoko, said the appointment of a CEO is a subject still under discussion between the sports commission and Tampane.
“I am not in a position to respond to your question since the appointment of a new CEO is still a subject to be discussed by my office and the minister,” said Raswoko in an interview with Public Eye. “But when the time is right we will talk about it. So I have nothing to share with you on it now.” Tseki or any eventual appointee who will take over the CEO’s position will be replacing Sechaba Mokhameleli who resigned as in 2019. In the absence of a full-time CEO, the commission appointed Teboho Malataliana in an acting position. Malataliana has been holding fort for two years since the departure of Mokhameleli.
The status quo remains despite the fact that two people have recently been interviewed for this position and recommendations forwarded to Tampane’s office. “But the minister did not approve of the commission’s recommendation. She, instead, chose Tseki,” said another source. Public Eye has been made to understand this choice was arrived at after all people who have been interviewed for the job failed to make an impress. Our sources indicated that “only one of them, a lady, was close to passing the interview while the rest totally failed.”
This paper has also been reliably informed that Malataliana was among the people who had applied for the CEO’s post “but his application was not considered since it was submitted late after the deadline,” said the source. The source said as things stand, the LSRC is likely indebted to Tseki for his benefits in the form of a salary for the month of January despite not actually being in the office.
The source added: “What is likely to happen is that LSRC will have to pay Tseki his benefits despite not being in the office because, according to the minister’s letter of appointment, he is supposed to be in the office by now.” The LSRC faces this stalemate a couple of years after former sports minister, Chief Thesele ’Maseribane, renewed the contract of the late Kholoang Mokalanyane as the commission’s CEO – leading to a legal battle with the commission.
The then leadership of the LSRC challenged ’Maseribane’s decision in the High Court of Lesotho but lost the case with the judge arguing that the LSRC’s Act does not disqualify the sports minister from making such an appointment. The LSRC resorted to a legal route after ’Maseribane’s froze all the funds intended for the sports commission. The commission receives funding from the government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation through an annual budget for sports activities. Attempts to get a reaction on the developments from Tampane drew a blank since her phone rang unanswered each time this reporter called.