Government saddened by death of Basotho men in mine disaster

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MASERU — The director of Poverty Reduction Programme (Prep) Topollo Lephatsóe this week said the government is deeply touched by the death of over 50 Basotho men in the illegal mine disaster in South Africa last month.

“We all know that many Basotho died in the mines recently. The government is not happy with that,” said Lephatsóe.

About 56 Lesotho nationals died in the illegal mine disaster in disused Eland Shaft in Welkom last month.

Most of the men are reported to have suffocated or burnt to death when a fire broke out under the shaft owned by Harmony Gold mining company on May 18.

Lephatsóe said the government, through the prime minister’s office, is in the process of creating jobs to alleviate poverty.

He said the Prep is going to start stone cutting projects worth of M3.4 million in Berea, Maseru, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek.

“The projects will ease poverty and vulnerability by creating jobs for men who worked in the South African mines,” Lephatsóe said.

Lephatsóe said the Prep is aiming at spreading the projects across the country to ensure maximum development.

“Lesotho is overwhelmed by a dark cloud of poverty. So the Prep projects are expected to run all over the country to ensure that they benefit many people.”

He said most of the cut stone will be exported to other countries in order to improve the country’s economy.

“We are expecting to cut a quantity of at least 1 million stones per month. Most of these will be exported and this will contribute in the growth of our country’s economy.”

He said the project will get rid of foreigners who take the stones, process them in their countries, selling them as their own.

“SA based companies have taken the stone and sold it as theirs.

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