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WASCO a rudderless ship!


Mohloai Mpesi

The Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO)’s board of directors suffered yet another blow last week as its chairman Chabeli Ramolise has tendered his resignation from his position.

Ramolise who has been in a lengthy talon fight with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WASCO, Futho Hoohlo over misconduct allegations, resigned his seat for personal issues.

According to the letter addressed to the Minister of Water Nkaku Kabi last Friday, Ramolise tendered his resignation citing family commitments.

However, this publication has learnt that that the latter also plies his trades with the Standard Lesotho Bank in the capacity of CIB Operational Risk and Marketing Risk Analyst where he was warned that his beleaguered brawl at WASCO tainted the integrity of the bank.

As if that was not enough, it is further alleged that earlier this month he was forced to either retain his seat at the utility company or his day job at the bank, to which he clearly made his choice.       

“I am writing to inform you that August 6, 2021 will be my last day as the Chairman of the Board of WASCO,” the letter reads.

“This wasn’t an easy decision but my family commitments as well as other professional engagements have made it impossible to continue to serve the board as efficiently as would be expected of the person in my position. I have seen substantial improvement at WASCO during the time that I have served and am confident it will continue to grow to be a resilient and thriving organization in my absence, under your guidance,” he said.

“Thank you for giving me the chance to work with such a great team. I look forward to hearing about the continued successes of WASCO,” he concluded.

The resignation of Ramolise, is however alleged to have come as the company is grappling with millions’ worth of loses. particularly, and in contrast to the foregoing, the letter was inked on the same date that the company released a notice to its clients to pay their outstanding water bills to avoid disconnection of services.

According to sources close to the matter, WASCO was struggling to recover M171million it lost over the years. Ramolise came to the incumbency of the water company in 2018.

“Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) wishes to inform all its customers with outstanding bills to pay their bills within the stipulated grace period of ten days (10) which commenced from Friday, August 06, 2021 to Thursday, August 19, 2021 to avoid disconnection of services. Customers are advised to pay at any WASCO pay points and agents. Thereafter, report to Wasco Debt Collection Office (Credit Section) for alteration from the disconnection list and/or for negotiations.

“Failure to adhere to the above arrangement of the set time frame will result in disconnection of services which will be restored only after full payment of the debt. WASCO Credit Section doors are open for negotiations to customers to settle their outstanding debts”.   

During the three years of Ramolise’s term at the helm of the company’s Board of Directors, the company has recorded an alarming rate of resignations from the Board including; the Manager Strategic Service, Pefole Pefole, Director Corporate Services, Litsebe Jimson, Director of Finance, Mangangole Tsikinyane, Deputy Chairman Pusetso Matekane who simultaneously applied for Director Finance (DF) position,  â€˜Malengolo Seotsanyana-Sello as well as Ramolise leaving the Board without Chair nor Deputy.

As if that was not enough, WASCO recorded a number of suspensions under Ramolise’s leadership with the company’s Supply Chain Manager, Peo Mputsoe, Chief Internal Audit, ‘Mafumane Pitso Kubu, Chief Executive Officer, Futho Hoohlo with a sequence of suspensions and litigations dating back to last December.

Minister of Water, Nkaku Kabi scoffed at the tiffs and neck-clawing brawls that have bedevilled the sewerage company, which he indicated stifled the service delivery as their mandate is mainly to serve the nation. 

“All of them at WASCO are expected to tender services and that is what I am expecting. I don’t know where they are heading with all these,” Kabi said.

“It should be clear why they are hired, they are not hired to fight and boast with power but to tender services to Basotho. If since 2018 Basotho have been decrying lack of water, then it doesn’t show a good service delivery,” he lashed.

Asked about the resignations and suspension letters that have taken leverage at the water company, he told this publication that he is going to work on the matter starting from next week to retain control over the company.

“I have to get a report of all the people who have resigned and how many they are so that I can see how we are going to replace them. Believe me I’m not in the light with everything happening there and since this weekend I will be out of Maseru I will attend to that matter on Monday next week,” he said adding that it is unprofessional of the former Chairman of the board of directors to overlook court orders.

“It is not good for people to not respect the courts, either the decision of the court if favourable or not, we all have to respect that and abide by its rulings,” he said.

Ramolise snubbed the Labour Court of its ruling in favour of Hoohlo who claimed that a part of his monthly salary was cut during his approved sick leave. The matter which was set for mention yesterday was postponed to August 24, 2021 with the reasons that the judge is on sick leave.

However, this publication tried to get reach of Ramolise whose telephone rang unanswered. This reporter sent a questionnaire to Ramolise’s WhatsApp messenger to provide a comment regarding the motive of his resignation but it was all to no avail.

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