Doti says sorry for backing wool regulations

Doti says sorry for backing wool regulations

MASERU – FIRED Social Development Minister, ’Matebatso Doti, says she regrets voting for the 2018 Wool and Mohair Regulations in Parliament.
Doti was speaking at a rally in Senqu constituency in Mokhotlong last Sunday.
Doti was fired from the government in February for backing a faction of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) that is aligned to Professor Nqosa Mahao.
She told the rally that thousands of poor Basotho farmers were losing thousands of maloti because of the nasty politics associated with the wool and mohair debacle.
“I am sorry for voting for the regulations,” she told the rally.
The controversial Wool and Mohair Regulations were adopted by Parliament in September last year. They have since been at the centre of a bruising war between the farmers and the government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

Fifty-three MPs who were on the government’s side voted for the regulations while 46 MPs from the opposition voted against the adoption of the regulations.
Twenty-one MPs were absent from parliament.
However, the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) argued for the withdrawal of the regulations.
The association argued that the regulations would not serve the interests of Basotho who survive on the sale of wool and mohair.
The farmers also argued that the regulations did not give them room to buy and sell wool and mohair as owners.
The farmers challenged the regulations in the High Court and won last month.

But Doti’s apology has received a withering criticism from the Minister of Small Business Chalane Phori.
Phori said Doti and the newly elected ABC deputy leader, Mahao, were trying to use the wool and mohair issue to buy sympathy from Basotho.
“She did not vote with us (in Parliament) but she is now apologising for voting for the regulations, what game is she playing?” Phori said.
He said when the House was about to vote for the regulations Doti rushed outside.
“I called her and asked her where she was or what she was doing outside when we were supposed to vote and she said she had a heart problem and was going to see a doctor,” Phori said.
“She left, she did not want to vote,” he said.

Phori said Doti and Mahao were political chancers who failed to speak out when Lesotho’s wool and mohair farmers were being swindled by South African brokers.
“Where were they when farmers were being cheated by South African brokers? Were they getting part of the M56 million that the farmers have been charged by the brokers even though the law is clear that there is no tax for wool and mohair?”
“We investigated and we do not know where the 14 percent of M400 million we have been told the sector generated annually is. It is not with the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), the South African Revenue Authority (SARS) or the Southern African Customs Union (SACU),” Phori said.

He said Doti and Mahao are now taking sides with criminals who failed to pay tax in this country.
“They are now friends with offenders who do not pay tax, who do not want to abide by this country’s laws.”
“They claim to be educated yet they did not use their education to help the poor multitudes of Basotho. Now when they see us serving Basotho and standing for a good cause they scream foul play.”
He said the government was busy “shutting down avenues that benefited a few and impoverished many”.

Lemohang Rakotsoane


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