PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili says the government does not take businesspeople for granted as they are integral to economic growth.
Dr Mosisili made the remark yesterday while addressing mourners at the funeral of renowned entrepreneur, ’Matumo Magdalena Tlelai, in Maseru.
Ms Tlelai, who was 76, passed away on 1 August 2016 at Medi-Clinic in Bloemfontein, South Africa after succumbing to cancer and other health complications.
The funeral service was attended by a host of dignitaries who included King Letsie III, Queen ’Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso, First Lady ’Mathato Mosisili, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, cabinet ministers, judges and South African deputy speaker of parliament Lechesa Tšenoli among others.
Dr Mosisili said the description of Ms Tlelai as a “Woman of God and Business” was apt given her entrepreneurial attributes.
The premier said before he knew Ms Tlelai, he first tasted the “delicious” food she prepared for her husband.
“I was in prison with her husband, the late Ntate Paleo Tlelai. I had been arrested shortly after I finished my final exams at the National University of Lesotho. He was one of the people I found in prison in Maseru,” he said.
“Ntate Tlelai would share with me the foodstuffs prepared for him by Mme Tlelai.”
Mr Tlelai passed away on 15 February 2012.
The premier said the role of businesspeople in the country’s development could not be underestimated.
“I want to take this opportunity to assure all of you businesspeople of Lesotho that the government supports you. For some reason, people think the government takes businesspeople for granted. A government which takes its businesspeople for granted does so at its own peril,” he added.
Also addressing the gathering, King Letsie III said Ms Tlelai was a powerful woman who selflessly dedicated her life to empowering other people. His Majesty said the royal family was fortunate to have been associated with the Tlelais.
“We grew up together with Mme ’Matumelo and Ntate Paleo’s sons, especially Tumo and Thabiso. Mme ’Matumelo took good care of us. During that time, Ntate Paleo was in prison, but as young people we were not even aware that Mme ’Matumelo was going through a difficult time,” His Majesty said.
Ms Tlelai was born in Kolo, Mafeteng, on 9 June 1940 to Pastor Abel and Mapuseletso Ndabambi of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She was the last born of three daughters.
Pastor Ndabambi passed away in January 1994, while Ms Tlelai’s mother also passed away when she was still an infant. She was then raised by her grandparents, Pastor Joshua and Ma-Abel Ndabambi.
Ms Tlelai’s grandfather was a missionary from the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). She is survived by five sons: Tumo, Thabiso, Mohau, Tšireletsoa and Tšasa and nine grandchildren.
Her entrepreneurship seems to have rubbed onto her children. One of her sons, Thabiso, is a successful entrepreneur in South Africa, having founded the Don Suites Group of hotels and later, Amabubesi (now NMT Capital), one of the largest black-owned private equity firms in SA, among many other ventures.