Lesotho teachers to hold elective conference

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MASERU — The Lesotho Teachers Trade Unions (LTTU) will next month hold an elective congress that will look into teachers’ conditions of service in Lesotho.

The congress will take place from January 3 to 6 at ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre.

LTTU secretary general, Vuyani Tyhali, told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday they were expecting about 300 local and foreign delegates at the congress.

He said the meeting will be held under the theme, Towards Open and Free Movement of Workers and the Poor.

“We are not only going to elect a new committee, we are also going to identify areas in which we have done well and those in which we have failed,” Tyhali said.

“The congress will also explore ways and means of achieving free movement at the country’s borders and dual citizenship for Basotho working in the Republic of South Africa.”

The issue of free movement has been a thorny one after South Africa tightened entry requirements at the country’s borders in the run-up to last year’s World Cup tournament.

This created long queues at the Maseru border post and howls of protest from thousands of Basotho living in South Africa who used to cross into Lesotho regularly.

Tyhali added that they will also discuss key issues such as the Education Act 2010, the role of unions in politics and the unity of teachers in southern Africa.

Professor Tefetso Mothibe, a history professor at the National University of Lesotho, who is also the president of the Free Movement in Lesotho civic group, is expected to talk on the issue of free movement and dual citizenship.

“We say there should be free movement because Basotho who seek employment in South Africa without work permits are being arrested. Some are failing to get employment due to lack of dual citizenship,” Tyhali said.

He noted that some Basotho were illegally employed only to be deported when they are supposed to get their wages.

He added that thousands of Basotho such as domestic workers and those working on farms and in mines were bearing the brunt of the harassment at the hands of South African authorities.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to this issue,” Tyhali said.

He said they will also discuss the conditions of service and salaries for teachers to ensure teachers get a living wage.

The lowest paid primary school teacher currently earns between M3 000 and M4 500 a month with high school teachers and principals earning between M10 000 and M12 000 a month.

The LTTU is affiliated to the Congress of Lesotho Trade Unions.

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