MASERU – Nkaku Kabi’s public suggestion during his campaign trail for the All Basotho Convention leadership that civil servants should retire at the age of 45 to open space for young people is unrealistic, says the Lesotho Public Service Staff Association (LEPSSA).
Kabi suggested during some of these much-publicised gatherings and radio programmes that civil servants should rather look forward to building businesses upon retirement, instead.
However, LEPSSA secretary general, Motebang Leboela, told Public Eye in an interview that the idea is highly impractical as the Pension Fund is already failing to settle past service liability to the retired civil servants.
Leboela said there is over M5 million owed to officers already on retirement and yet to be paid, asking “the question is, where is the government going to get the money to pay thousands of people who will retire at 45 while they still fail to pay the current ones.”
Leboela further claimed that the country’s retention and retirement structure is poor, and close to non-existent as labour market surveys are hardly done.
The surveys, he continued, would determine what to study to be part of the government system, and whether those in the system are trainable or if they should be retrenched to begin a new career in entrepreneurship. “Without the market research, how will the retired even be ready for entrepreneurship?” Leboela questioned.
In addition to civil servants being met half-way financially, the LEPSSA secretary general observed that government does not have anything in place to prepare employees for retirement. He appealed to Kabi, as the new ABC leader, to abandon the idea of a policy to push civil servants to retire at 45.
Leboela further noted that it was sad that when considering policies for the civil service political leaders never consult them about the very decisions that affect them, which results in decisions that either cause more chaos or are outrightly unjust.
“Politicians never make consultations with us and, therefore, continue to fail us. They should learn to consult before campaigning about things that involve us.”
Speaking to youth who Kabi targetted as beneficiaries of his proposed policy, Bachashutdown president Tumelo Moteuli told this publication that there are a lot of factors to be considered when a policy of this nature is implemented.
These include the time an officer has been employed as some people could be employed at a later stage in life and could have little time to save for retirement at 45.
“In addition to the little time to save the pay rate of an individual as well as the economy of the country should be considered on implementing such a policy.” Moteuli further raised a point that government should consider financially assisting those civil servants heading for retirement.