Two employees of Meteorology department in Mahalapye have accused the Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, of harassment.
Lebogang Malongwa and Kabo Nokwane claim Mokaila confronted them after they mistakenly tried to exit from the wrong route and blocked the minister’s way. Narrating the details of the incident Malongwa, an Administration Assistant said she and her driver were on duty and had gone to collect payment from Premier Hotel. “We were on our way out from the ministry’s head office when we came face to face with his car. He asked us to reverse, so he could make his way through and after minutes of trying the driver could not find enough space to completely move out of the way, but he made enough space to let the minister’s car in,” narrated Malongwa.
The distraught lady said the minister’s driver kept asking them to move back, even though there was no where to move. Attempts by the driver to show Mokaila’s driver that there was enough space for him to pass through were not welcomed, and Mokaila sprung into action!
“He got off his car and made straight to us. I was shocked because I did not even know that he was in the car. He headed to the driver’s side, switched off the engine and took the car keys and blurted ‘le bodipa’ before handing my car keys to his driver,” said Nokwane.
Nokwane said the minister then walked to his office where they later learnt he had a high profile meeting.
Nokwane’s mistake was he mistakenly used the entrance route to make his exit. However on further examination he realised there was no space to make room for the minister’s car as part of the space was barricaded apparently for the guests who were in the meeting.
“After re-collecting myself I mustered the courage to approach his driver to ask for the keys back. He unflinchingly told me that Mokaila ordered him to keep the keys until he was done with his meeting,” said Nokwane.
It was at that moment that Malongwa got off the car to help in trying to get the keys back and ran right into the fury of an arrogant driver, as she described him. “He told me that I was nothing and even threatened to beat me up. I tried to remind him that we are all government employees from the same ministry and that we should be working together for the common good but everything I said seemed to infuriate him even further,” Malongwa told the Voice.
The Voice learnt that the said driver continued with his threats, and at one point charged at Malongwa, who took cover in the car. “I still believe that if I had not taken cover and locked all the doors he would have assaulted me,” she said.
The distraught pair said after close to an hour, a delegation that had also come to the minister’s meeting had no where to pass as their car was left blocking the route.
“Mokaila’s driver then came to our car, shifted the gear to neutral and pushed it out of the way and held on to the keys still,” they said.
After close to two hours after some persuasion from other people, Mokaila’s driver ran to the office allegedly to ask consent from his boss to give the keys back. He emerged after a few minutes and gave the keys back, and only after he had satisfied himself with another tongue lashing for the two.
“I do not know what got into that man, and I suspect that the minister did not instruct him to hold on to our keys. There is no how a minister can do that at this time when government is preaching delivery. I just think he saw us as easy targets,” fired Malongwa.
The two have since reported the matter to their Director Phologolo Phage who has asked them to put their disgruntlement in writing.
Efforts to speak to Mokaila did not bear any fruits as his mobile phone remained unanswered. His Private Secretary Mable Bolele rubbished the complaints saying they were not true. “I was there and I saw nothing concerning car keys. Ask that driver to tell you the truth,” she fired back before saying the minister was not available.