BASOTHO have been urged to support local businesses to foster job creation and nip the country’s high unemployment rate in the bud.
This was said by Ministry of Trade and Industry Principal Secretary Majakathata Mokoena on the minister’s behalf during the official opening of Maseru Toyota’s new premises on Friday.
Maseru Toyota is a vehicle dealership that sells a wide range of new Toyota models and also provides after-sale services for Toyota vehicles. The company sells passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. It is a franchise of Toyota South Africa.
The new two-storey facility along Mpilo Boulevard has a vehicle sales department which includes the showroom, maintenance workshop, parts and accessory section, as well as the administration block on the top floor.
The glittering ceremony coincided with the launch of the new Toyota Fortuner range to the Lesotho market, and was attended by the who’s who of business leaders, government officials and individual clients.
Mr Majakathata Mokoena called on Basotho to shun the habit of buying products in South Africa that can be found in Lesotho.
“Why should Basotho buy Toyota vehicles in Bloemfontein when they can get the same quality of cars at Maseru Toyota? Maseru Toyota employs the same processes as in any other country,” he said.
“Let us buy our vehicles from Maseru Toyota since the more we support them, the more they are likely to create more job opportunities for our people.”
He said one of the attributes that endeared Maseru Toyota to its clients was its insistence and adherence to delivering quality products and services. Such an approach, he said, should be followed by other entrepreneurs for them to enjoy the same support and growth.
Maseru Toyota was formed in 1985 after six entrepreneurs, Elijah Ledimo, Casba Robert Kolotsane, Ramosehlane Mapetla, Thabo Mokoena, Mpho Malie and Grabiel Mphakalasi joined forces with the aim of catering for Basotho’s vehicle needs.
The dealership, which started out with 15 employees operating from one base in Maputsoe, now has a staff complement of 94 with two branches in Maseru and Maputsoe. It has grown from selling three vehicles per month to an average of 29 vehicles in the same period and servicing up to 55 cars per day.
One of the two remaining Maseru Toyota shareholders, Mr Kolotsane, said it was not an easy road to where the company was today. He also thanked Basotho for their support over the years.
The dealership’s Chairman, Mr Ledimo, echoed the sentiment, saying he hoped the support afforded to Maseru Toyota by Basotho could be extended to other local businesses for the development of the country.
“The success of Maseru Toyota is testimony that we have the capacity to thrive as a nation,” he said.
“Now, my plea is for Basotho to do what they have done for this company to other Basotho-owned companies across the 10 districts of the country.”
Explaining the decision to invest in a new premises, Maseru Toyota Managing Director Hasa Ledimo said it was initiated 10 years ago by Toyota South Africa since the parent company wanted all its dealerships in the region to have a modular design.
“It was a task we gave to Ntate Elijah Ledimo, and one that he took upon himself to complete. We also decided to move because the premises we once used had limited space which restricted our expansion and development.”
Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative, Koena Phafane, congratulated Maseru Toyota management on the milestone, saying they were role models to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“LCCI considers Maseru Toyota and its shareholders as a role model company that has been a source of inspiration to many of our members in Lesotho,” he said.
“We have observed that the leadership of this company has unwavering patience and fearless tenacity in pursuing their objectives.”