OUT–GOING Chief Executive Officer of Letshego Financial Services (LFS) ‘Malehlohonolo Doreen Van Tonder says the organisation is on an upward trajectory which will facilitate its greater contribution to economic development of the country.
The 65 year-old is set to retire at the end of the month after overseeing the establishment in Lesotho of the LFS which has its roots in Botswana.
Since its launch in the country in 2012, the company has grown to five branches around the country and garnered a considerable share of the financial services market in the process.
Speaking at this week’s farewell dinner held in her honour in Maseru, Ms Van Tonder said she was leaving the company in capable hands and she was confident “that the young and promising child we have carefully nursed, Letshego Lesotho will continue to grow”.
She said this could be achieved by “encouraging our customers to use the loans they obtain from us for productive and not for consumption purposes; that is for starting or growing small businesses, building homes and health”.
She said the highlight of her tenure was the partnership with Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation in 2016 to develop housing for low income earners.
“We partnered with the Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation to provide affordable housing to low to middle income earners. This is by far the most significant achievement of my time with Letshego Lesotho.
“This partnership is a purposeful and a step towards affording dignity to our customers who will now afford to own property,” Ms Van Tonder said.
LFS Group Managing Director, Chris Low described Ms Van Tonder as an exceptional leader who was leaving behind a motivated and results-driven team.
He said she had overseen the growth of the company from its single service centre in Maseru with just nine staff members to the current five branches in five districts with a staff complement of 37.
“She has turned it into a company that has a positive impact on the lives of many Basotho across the country and this is central to Letshego’s promise which we strive to fulfil.
“Under Doreen’s leadership, Letshego has positioned itself as a strong partner to the people of Lesotho. While continuously improving on customer experience and offering simple and purpose solution, Doreen has grown our customer base to over 7000 in Lesotho today and we are still counting,” Mr Low said.
Mpaiphele Maqutu, a LFS Lesotho board member, said Ms Van Tonder was an approachable person who also possessed good governance skills.
One of the attendants, Malebitso Ralebitso said her favourite memory of Mrs Van Tonder’s time with Letshego was when the company painted the squalid walls at Maseru Central Police Station late last year.
“That for me, stood out as the most remarkable thing anybody could do for a police station,” Ms Ralebitso said.