Fokothi students storm ‘Manpower’ offices over allowances

Lehlohonolo Lebiletsa

Maseru – A fight has erupted between Lerotholi Polytechnic (Fokothi) students on one hand, and management at the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS). Public Eye Online witnessed an irate crowd of Fokothi students this afternoon at NMDS offices.

Several students interviewed said they have not received any allowances since the beginning of the academic year. One of them, Morapeli Letsoso, said he fears he is probably going to fail this year, which is his final year at the college, because his circumstances have been immensely difficult.

“I have been struggling so much because I need money for transport since I live far from school, money which I don’t have. On top of that, studying this year has been very demanding on data due to online programmes e-learning because of the current Covid-19 situation, which has undeniably become the new normal,” he explained.

A member of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Thabiso Mpokathe, told Public Eye Online that though they always have disputes with NMDS, this year has been the worst for them as the SRC because the students’ body expects them to solve each student’s grievances.

“The task bestowed upon us is already extremely hard, but the ongoing situation is really making it almost unbearable. NMDS is really failing the SRC because some students put the blame on us thinking we are not doing our job while the truth is we have been trying everything in our power to solve this matter but unfortunately all our efforts have been in vain,” he said, expressing frustration.

Mpokathe said they had arranged a meeting with NMDS that was scheduled for 2:30 pm today but by the time Public Eye Online crew visited the scene after 3pm the meeting had not yet started and they were only told to wait further since NMDS management had gone for another meeting.

Efforts to get a comment from NMDS were unsuccessful.

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