Dismissed workers drop case


  • Applicants warned that they inaptly brought a labour matter to the High Court
  • Dismissed workers wanted their salaries paid until completion of the case

Staff Reporter

MASERU – The 48 national parks workers who were recently dismissed by the government on Friday withdrew the application that challenged their sacking in the High Court. This after their lawyer, Advocate Moroke Mokone, was on Tuesday this week instructed by the court to consult further and reconsider the plea for the court to intervene.   The order was made after the respondents in the matter had argued that the application belonged in the Labour Court, adding it had wrongly been brought before the High Court. The sacked employees, who were engaged by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, had approached the court seeking an order to stop the termination of their employment, pending the finalisation of the case.

They had also asked the court to order the respondents to pay their salaries until the matter had been completed, adding that it was their right to receive the salaries. They stated that following a memo (Ministry of Public Service Circular Notice No 11 of 2022) dated December 15, 2022, which directed the termination of all civil servants’ employment whose contracts were illegal, they continued working because they were legally employed. The applicants alleged that they later learned about another memo (Ministry of Public Service Circular Notice No 12 of 2022) dated December 27, 2022, which directed that the employees referred to in the previous memo be dismissed with immediate effect.

They indicated that as a memo is confidential and internal communication, they only learned of the two memos in January 2023. They said they also learned that one of the respondents in the matter even replied to the memo indicating that their employment was lawful, hence, their contracts could not be terminated. The respondents in the matter include the Principal Secretary of Cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Office (Department of Environment), the Principal Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Culture together with the Ministry itself, and Attorney General. The case continues before Judge Tšeliso Mokoko.

Advocate Thomas Thakalekoala represents the respondents in the case. Since the new administration took over office after the October general elections, more than 100 officials from various government ministries have been shown the door, with others slapped with show cause why letters. The coalition government led by Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane argues that the sacked employees were hired politically and not through proper channels. The government has pledged to terminate all their contracts by the end of February.

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