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Elias appointed new DMA boss

REATILE Elias, a human resources expert who was named in a Covid-19 recruitment scandal four years ago, is now the new CEO for the Disaster Management Authority (DMA). Elias replaces ’Makhotso Mahosi who was gunned down last year.

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Elias replaces ’Makhotso Mahosi who was gunned down last year.

Elias was headhunted to lead the human resources department for the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) at the height of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020.

The DMA spokesperson Mahlape Koali told thepost that the position was advertised and Elias won the race.

“Elias has extensive human resources management experience from the public and private sectors in Lesotho, both as a senior management employee as well as a consultant,” the DMA statement read.

“His main areas of expertise include performance management, organisational development, change management as well as policy development.

“Elias is passionate about relentlessly seeking workplace human capital solutions aimed improving organisational performance,” the statement said.

Elias hogged the headlines when parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) quizzed him last year about the controversial recruitment of Dr Catherine Lephoto at NACOSEC in 2020.

Elias told the PAC that he just followed instructions from the then NACOSEC boss, Thabo Khasipe, to fetch Dr Lephoto from Johannesburg to Maseru.

Despite that he was the head of human resources at the NACOSEC, Elias told the PAC that “I was instructed to facilitate her coming to help combat Covid-19 and that was sufficient to me at the time”.

The PAC, which wanted to know all about Dr Lephoto’s recruitment, heard that she had been headhunted by Khasipe and that she was paid M120 000 per month.

The PAC also heard that her salary, benefits and hotel bill cost the government a staggering M1.6 million for over six months.

Elias also told the committee that Dr Lephoto moved into Avani Lesotho hotel after rejecting two rented houses in Maseru that had been offered by the government.

Elias said Dr Lephoto rejected the houses for “safety and security reasons” and insisted on staying at Avani Lesotho with her two children.

“We had to place them at the Avani hotel because there is free Wi-Fi for the children’s online classes,” Elias said.

The government however still had to pay rent for the two houses because it had already signed leases with the landlords.

Elias told the PAC that several other staff members of the NACOSEC had been handpicked under his watch. He however said he was not doing it alone but was doing so in consultation with a ministerial committee that discussed and endorsed some of NACOSEC’s decisions.

Elias said a lot of those hired at NACOSEC during his stint as human resources manager were headhunted.

He admitted that most of the positions were not advertised but denied being solely responsible for short-circuiting the recruitment process.

Government spokesman, Thabo Sekonyela, said information about Elias’ performance at the NACOSEC had not reached the prime minister’s office at the time of his appointment.

Elias was quizzed by the PAC in October last year, a year after Prime Minister Sam Matekane had taken office.

Majara Molupe

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