THE high levels of joblessness in the country have left many people no choice but to turn to street vending to eke out a living for themselves and their families. However, this is no easy task and in the streets of Maseru and other towns vendors endure numerous challenges in their daily operations.
These include lack of water, toilets, lack of street lighting as well as security.
They have often complained of neglect by successive governments who have promised them pies in the sky to get their votes, only to dump them once in office. The Lesotho Times crew this week visited Mafafa market in Maseru and spoke to several vendors about their expectations of the incoming government in the aftermath of the 3 June elections.
Some of the responses are captured below.
I have worked here since 1985 and we have been waiting for government to improve the conditions. We expect change from the new government. We don’t have water and toilets, yet the municipality expects us to pay at the end of the month. This market has no electricity. It is dark without any security and anyone can walk in and out as they please when we are not here. The previous government made promises which were never fulfilled so our hope is that the new one will finally heed our demands as citizens who voted for them.
The politicians we voted for should listen to the people’s demands and work on them. Services everywhere are very horrible and that should be fixed because as citizens of this country we expect to fair treatment without favouritism. I have no hope at all that the environment here will change because we’ve been complaining for years. Looking at the previous government, there were a lot of problems that were not fixed including roads which people always complain about. Those who won the constituency should listen to the public.
As street vendors we only get to make money if the economy of the country is good and so I wish that the new government can improve Lesotho’s economy. I wish for peace to prevail in the country and for crimes to subside. We saw a lot of instability in the country in the last government and this affected our businesses as street vendors in a lot of ways. Business was hard because the government wasn’t strong enough. I also pray that they fix the conditions here.
The new government should ensure that factory workers get a wage increase because those people are our main customers. We live by them. We wish for the government to improve the water supply and toilets within our working facilities because despite being street vendors we still pay tax.
I want the government to provide jobs for young people. I want them to invest money in their projects and help them grow as they are the future of this country. I have noticed that those who have a degree and those who do not still struggle the same way to find jobs. I have a degree but I’m selling food on the streets to other people because of the high unemployment rate in the country. I have seen that you have to be connected to find a job. I applied many times but later realised that the people who got the positions did not even attend the interviews. I also wish that the new government can fix our working environment.