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Job losses loom as book centre goes up in flames

’Marafaele Mohloboli

MAZENOD Book Centre in Maseru was gutted by fire over the weekend. The financial loss is estimated at M28 million.

At least 30 of the Roman Catholic Church-owned book centre’s 50 employees are likely to lose their jobs due to the inferno. The destruction of the centre will also affect several schools and church congregations which rely on it for books.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated but the centre’s managing director, Father Augustinus Khakhane, this week told the Sunday Express that it could be linked to an electrical fault.

“We are still waiting for fire experts to help with investigations but based on the report of the security guard, the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault,” Fr Khakhane said.

“This is a major loss for us as the Catholic church.

“This (book centre) is one of our business projects which helps us generate revenue. Our partners have also lost and so has everyone who got their book supplies from us nationwide.

“This is difficult for us to accept as it means that most of our staff have lost their jobs at the blink of an eye. This leaves them hopeless as the country is already challenged with high unemployment. Standing there and helplessly watching the ruins of the building that stood for decades was so painful for me and everyone else who has cherished this iconic place.

“We have lost business and infrastructure. And this has happened at a time when we are also grappling with the effects of COVID-19,” Fr Khakhane said.

 

 

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