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King’s Office not amused by new number plates

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GoL could lose over M24Million

Mohloai Mpesi

The government of Lesotho is faced with an unnecessary minimum of M24million bill over a change of plate numbers bearing the national code of arms.

According to the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Maile Masoebe, the government is contemplating a change of the plate numbers bearing code of arms after the office of His Majesty complained that the plate numbers deserve to be used by His Majesty’s office only.

The matter was tabled in Cabinet as a question probing if the ministry is aware that the number plates are supposed to be used by the office of His Majesty only.

Masoebe told this publication that Cabinet had directed him and the Prime Minister’s Office to sort the issue. Although he said the groundwork is at preliminary stage, the government will have to consider costs that they are going to incur should they try to cancel the number plates.

Apparently, over 60 000 units of these new plate numbers bearing the code of arms have been printed so far. This leaves the government with few options that Masoebe denied to disclose, whether the country is going to return to the old Mokorotlo plate numbers or will switch to another new version.      

“We have only just started working on the issue of number plates with the Government Secretary. We are still at the beginning of the work and there is nothing to report on this matter at this stage.

“We are currently doing some research in regard to the costs should the government decide to cancel the use of number plates bearing code of arms,” Masoebe said.

“It is going to cost the government because it is over 60 thousands of number plates baring code of arms that have been issued. I am not sure about the exact number but it means all the issued plates will have to be paid for by the government, especially that the plate numbers are still with their owners, but we are not the ones to make decision, it is cabinet’s decision,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source privy to the matter told this publication that the government will get in financial expenses summing up from M24million to M30million to stop production as the manufacturing company is based in South Africa which is also working with a company in America.

“So we will have to pay a stop price because they make long term deals. It is also going to backfire on our people as they will be chased by the South African police because it means we will have three sets of plate numbers at a go,” she said.

“The Mokorotlo number plates are due to expire in 2024 and some people still have them. On the other hand, the new ones bearing the code of arms are due to expire in 2026 and we have been ordered to stop issuing them. This means we will be running three plate numbers if new ones are installed.

“This is politically motivated. We use licenses, passports, identity document cards, all bearing the code of arms, the office of His Majesty never complains, I don’t think His Majesty himself does not complain about this,” he said.

“The government is working on it now; the cabinet will make decision on this issue,” he said.

Approached for a comment, officials in His Majesty’s Office could neither identify themselves nor comment on the matter.

A Legal Officer who declined to mention her name stated that they cannot comment on it after requesting advice from the Principal Secretary who coached her to deny all the questions. “We can’t comment on this issue because it is in the hands of the Ministry of Transport so they will tell you all the details if they want to,” she said.   

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