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Vendors demand business operations


…but government answers with a bag of maize meal

Mohloai Mpesi

Street vendors operating in the Maseru city have scoffed at the Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s initiative of food subsidy wherein they are given a maize meal with beans to conciliate the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

President of the Queen II Zone Street Vendors, Jane Khama joined in one voice with the rest of the street vendors who flocked at the center of Maseru, opposite Carlton center to register their names for incentives.

The irate Khama said they don’t want the incentives of maize meal and beans but want their businesses to be opened so that they will trade to support their families.

The street vendors’ businesses were locked in the roll-out of the lockdown regulations which bar them from operating under the guise of super-spreader risk, while big and better-established enterprises selling the same items as street vendors are allowed to operate during the same lockdown.

All this comes after the premier activated an Alert Level Red National Lockdown a fortnight ago, which was initially set to last two weeks before it was extended for a further seven days from yesterday (Thursday).

“We want our businesses to be opened and we be allowed to generate money for our families. The food packs can’t pay our rent, what are we going to use to cook them if we are not making any money?” Khama quipped.

“We are not happy with the fact that we are given maize meal instead of being given an opportunity to sell so that we can support our families.

“Big businesses are allowed to trade while our hands are tied. We don’t even know even if we will get the food parcels. Because even when there were rumours that street vendors would receive M500 donations in last year’s version of the lockdown, we didn’t get any here in our zone,” he said.

“The first time other people received incentives our zone got nothing, we are going to register just as a formality, truly we are not interested in maize meal and a packet of beans,” he said.  

In the same light, the vendors filed an urgent application in the High Court of Lesotho against the government of Lesotho, suing the regime against the closure of their businesses.

However, the case which was heard in court on Friday, January 22, 2021 before Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane on Friday was pushed back to February 7, 2021.

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