Raw deal for retired teachers


… as terminal benefits prove elusive


MASERU – Retired teachers are battling insurmountable hurdles in receiving their terminal benefits. Some even claim that their files have mysteriously gone missing from the Teaching Service Department (TSD). Makhotso Mosuhli, a retired teacher who served from 1981 until December 31, 2022, and was originally set to retire in June 2024 but had to retire two years earlier due to arthritis, told Public Eye in an exclusive interview this week that she has not yet received her terminal benefits.

Mosuhli said her file has been reported missing and, despite numerous inquiries, she has not received any information from the responsible department. Expressing her frustration in an interview this week, Mosuhli notes that others who retired around the same time or after her have already received their benefits. She initially approached TSD in June 2023 where she was asked to provide her employment number and was assured a follow-up would be made. However, she has not received any feedback since. After involving the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) chairperson in December 2023, she received a call indicating a possible payment.

Subsequently, she was informed that her file had gone to the Department of Planning in August, though the details were unclear. Despite her efforts, Mosuhli was informed that her file had gone missing and was instructed to gather her documents and submit them to TSD again. While she got further instructions to obtain a form from the Ministry of Education, Department of Promotion, and return it to TSD, she remains uninformed about the status of her benefits.

Letsatsi Ntsibolane, the Secretary General of LAT, confirmed that many teachers are facing similar delays and that some of them have even passed away without receiving their terminal benefits. He highlighted the historical nature of the problem and drew parallels with the challenges faced by Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) officials in the past. Efforts to obtain a response from the Ministry of Education were unsuccessful as the Principal Secretary (PS) promised to seek assistance from TSD but failed to provide any updates. Terminal benefits, crucial entitlements for employees upon termination of an employment contract, continue to elude retired teachers, raising concerns about the delayed resolution of this longstanding issue.

On May 16, 2023, Public Eye published a story showing that school principals and teachers across the country who were owed money dating back to 2012 for services rendered would finally get their dues. This came after recommendations to Parliament by the Ombudsman for the National Assembly to appeal to ministries to prioritise the payment of all outstanding civil servants’ monies, including gratuities, terminal benefits, underpayments, and acting allowances.

The recommendation came after the Ombudsman, Advocate Tlotliso Polaki, received numerous cases from aggrieved people claiming not to have received what was due to them by way of their terminal benefits, acting allowances, gratuities, and underpayment allowances. In the report, Polaki said some of those aggrieved persons alleged that since their retirement, they had neither received their terminal benefits nor monthly pensions and, as a result, had been left with no means of livelihood.

The Ombudsman received around 30 cases from the Ministry of Education and Training between 2017 and 2022. Complainants included children who articulated that their parents, who were teachers, died before receiving their terminal benefits. There were also principals who had been acting since 2017 but had not received their acting allowances, and those who had not received their terminal benefit since they retired. The Minister of Education, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, had also confirmed to this publication that the ministry owed many teachers across the country but noted that the ministry has gradually been paying them, even though the entire debt is yet to be completely settled.

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