Although progress in its work can be reduced to nought, the National Reforms Authority (NRA) is said to be asking for millions in monthly salaries.
According to the Director of Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), Peshoane Tsikoane, the 59 members of the NRA want a monthly salary of M30 000 net each.
Speaking at a preliminary review of reforms public consultation, held in Mantšonyane in the Thaba-Tseka district on Wednesday, Tsikoane pointed out that since it was inaugurated early this year, the NRA’s work thus far can only be reduced to appointment of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and his deputy, as well as demanding M30 000 in monthly salaries.
Tsikoane bemoaned the animosity that has generated between the NRA and the government over the months which is premised on power struggles between the two parties and nothing benefiting Basotho.
“There is a lot of animosity and disagreements among the members of the National Reforms Authority, which has been caused by the fact that since the members of NRA were elected there is no noteworthy progress in their work except contestation on their salaries, packages and privileges.
“To be honest, there are only two things done by the NRA since their inauguration, that is the hiring of staff, I mean, it really took this country a whole year just to hire the Chief Executive officer for NRA. The second thing we know that they have done is their raving about how much they deserve to be paid. We hear that they want to be paid a net salary of M 30 000 a month,” he said.
The TRC Director outlined that the NRA is also wasting time by trying to prove how as an authority they are bigger than parliament. He said the country would be better off focusing on developmental issues of reform than nursing the egos of NRA members who want to feel all important and mighty.
“We will not have solutions and breakthrough to the problems that have bedevilled this country for over the past 50 years, if we focus on this kind of mundane issues,” Tsikoane said.
The NRA is a 59 member body, the lion share of which is politicians from all the 35 political parties in the country plus government ministers as ex officio (non-voting) members, as well as representatives of different civil society formations.
It was formed by the NRA Bill of 2019 and is a successor of the National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) that was established under and regulated by the National Reforms Dialogue Act, 2018. It proposes that the Authority operates independently of control or direction of any person or authority with a view to ensure transparency, the rule of law and involvement of the entire nation through its multi sectors. The Authority is only accountable to the Parliament according to the Bill.
The Authority is meant to coordinate, oversee and strategically lead in the implementation of the resolutions and decisions of the Second Plenary which is the concluding session of the Multi-Stakeholders National dialogue on national reforms.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, the Minister of Justice and Law Professor Nqosa Mahao reiterated Tsikoane’s views that there are indeed no smooth relations between the two parties. He pointed out that there are more pressing issues that need to be dealt with because the country is running out of time to implement reforms.
Mahao indicated that for the longest time he was begging the NRA to work hand in hand with his Ministry but the NRA showed no interest in working with him.
“The NRA leadership seems to forget conveniently so, that myself and the Foreign Affairs Minister are also member of the Authority, that is why they have the audacity to call meetings without notifying us.
“They called a meeting which I was not notified of, we heard through the grapevine that there was a meeting and when we attended the meeting, the NRA Chairperson was not in attendance. I called took the liberty to call him, but when he arrived he just proceeded with the meeting and ignored us. When we tried to talk we were jeered at and heckled.
“All these were done deliberately so that we could leave and not be part of NRA decisions especially the appointment of members of staff which was greatly interfered with by the Chairperson,” he protested.
The Minister said the NRA still had the nerve to send representatives to his office to negotiate their salaries. He said those representatives came when they as a ministry were already communicating with the finance ministry to find out if funds were available to finance NRA salaries. He said although they are still negotiating, they had been informed that information about availability of funds to pay NRA salaries and perks would be available before end of this week.
The NRA Chairperson, Chief Pelele Letsoela is on record in the local media as confirming that indeed it was in their rights to negotiate packages they felt they deserved for their tireless efforts in bringing this country lasting peace, as he confirmed that they felt a salary of M 30 000 is what they deserve.