Connect with us


Engen boss loses work permit case



MASERU – TEBOGO Mosehla, Engen Lesotho’s beleaguered boss, has suffered a massive setback in his legal battle to block the government from cancelling his work permit. Mosehla, a South African, had filed an urgent application seeking an order to force the government to restore his work permit which was cancelled in April, five months after it was granted.

His main argument was that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Selemo Mangobe, did not have the power to cancel his permit. He argued that the authority to revoke a work permit is vested with the Labour Commissioner.

Justice Polo Banyane however dismissed his application after finding that the High Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear his case. In a judgement this week, Justice Banyane said Mosehla’s application was based on a labour issue that should be handled by the Labour Court.

The ruling means Mosehla will still have to surrender his work permit card as Mangobe had instructed in the letter he wrote to him on April 20. The letter gave Mangobe 24 hours to return the work permit card but Mosehla has been holding on to it since then.

The ruling is a victory for the Lesotho Workers Association (Lewa) which aggressively pushed for the permit to be cancelled. The union then opposed Mosehla’s application after it was granted permission to intervene on the basis that it had substantial interests in the case.

Lewa has been unrelenting in its pressure to get Mosehla’s work permit cancelled. It argued that the permit had been granted unlawfully because the Ministry of Labour had not verified if there were no Basotho qualified for the job.

The union also alleged that Mosehla lacked the temperament to deal with relations between Engen and its employees, pointing out that he had started harassing employees soon after getting the permit.

Five days after the minister’s decision was communicated to Mosehla, the union wrote another letter to the minister. It praised the minister for heeding its call but was quick to note that Mosehla was yet to surrender his permit card as instructed.

“In the interim, we will approach the police to enforce this decision and we will request your good office to assist the police with some of your employees within the ministry because the police can arrest any person in the present (sic) of a Labour officer,” Lewa said in the letter.

Lewa’s legal team repeated the argument during the hearing and insisted that Mosehla should not have brought a labour case to the High Court. It also said even if the High Court had jurisdiction on the case, the application should be dismissed because Mosehla approached the court with ‘dirty hands’ as he had refused to surrender his permit.

Motlalepula Setintana, Lewa’s deputy secretary general, this week said the union will continue to fight because qualified Basotho are being overlooked for senior management positions. Setintana said Mosehla’s permit was unlawfully granted because the job was not advertised.

“Our argument is that this was a violation of the labour law. There is no way it could be established that there were no Basotho qualified for that job because there was no advert calling for applications,” Setintana said.

“Multinational companies have been doing this for some time now and it is time it is stopped.”

Setintana said the union has nothing against foreigners getting top jobs but wants the law to be followed to give qualified Basotho a fair chance.

“We have no problem with work permits being granted to qualified people after a thorough search for candidates in the local job market. The law must be strictly followed for the system to be fair.”

Mosehla replaced Theodore Molapo who took early retirement in August last year after more than 20 years with the company. He was granted the permit last December despite opposition from some stakeholders who felt Basotho were qualified to do the job. thepost understands that some senior government officials have been trying to lobby for Mosehla’s permit to be reinstated.

Staff Reporter


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved