THE government has set aside M4 million to assist 13 000 Basotho who are in need for aid in neighbouring South Africa, the chairperson of the sub-committee of cabinet ministers on COVID-19, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, has said.
Last week hundreds of Basotho, who are stuck in South Africa since the commencement of that country’s lockdown on 26 March 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), called on government to provide them with food relief. They said they had run out of money to purchase any food.
Their representatives last week said they had gone without food for days and all their calls for government assistance were fruitless.
The South African government was also prioritising its own citizens whenever it rolls out assistance programmes. As a result, some have been evicted from their rented accommodation due to their failure to pay rentals.
On 28 April Chief ‘Maseribane told parliament that government had set aside M4 million to assist the 13 000 Basotho who has so far registered their names for assistance.
“The command centre, after consulting the cabinet, has resolved to set aside M4 million from the COVID–19 relief fund to help Basotho who are stuck in South Africa during the lockdown,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
“We have asked the representatives to register their names because that is the only way they can be assisted,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
Chief ‘Maseribane also said the National Emergency Command Centre (NECC) would soon embark on a comprehensive screening and testing of COVID–19. He said priority will be given to people who work in South Africa so that they are ready to report back to work as soon the country lifts its lockdown.
“The Ministry of Health will continue its comprehensive screening and testing of Basotho prioritising those working and studying in South Africa to ensure that they do not lose their jobs and places in schools once the lockdown is lifted.
“To date, there has been 28 suspected cases that have been tested and all have been found to be negative. Nonetheless, there has been thousands Basotho who came in the country, who have come through illegal crossings. Around 2987 people have been put under surveillance and observation to monitor if at all they will develop COVID–19 symptoms while in self-quarantine,” Chief ‘Maseribane said