‘Police pick-up trucks of horror’

‘Police pick-up trucks of horror’

MASERU – Kabelo Mokonyana, 27, was travelling with the police to testify in court in Mohale’s Hoek when the police vehicle was involved in a serious accident.
She sustained serious injuries on her spinal cord.
Her child became paralysed as a result of her injuries while her mother died in the accident. That was in 2013.
To her horror, Mokonyana, from Ha-Mokonyana in Berea, was told that she could not be compensated for her injuries because only the police were insured.
This week, Mokonyana took her case to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“My mother died on the spot while my child broke his legs and my spinal cord was injured,” Mokonyana told the committee.
“We went to the LNIG (Lesotho National Insurance Group) to claim for third party compensation but to my disappointment we were told that only the police were insured,” she said.
“We were told that police cars do not take non-police (officers) and therefore we were not insured.”
She told the committee that the police had initially promised to give her a job as a cleaner so that she could continue looking after her child and siblings.
But nothing came out of that promise.

“We live in poverty. My father died a long time ago and now my mother has died and I cannot look after my child and siblings because I am sick,” she said.
“I am not educated but I can still do some jobs such as cleaning. The police had promised to give me a job but now they have not fulfilled their promise.”
The PAC were visibly moved by Mokonyana’s story.

The chief whip, Likopo Mahase, called for the urgent correction of the third party compensation policy to cover passengers who are not police officers.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Shekoe Sebutsoe said he tried to help Mokonyana but all his efforts were stalled because there was no law to guide him.
“We have a serious problem as the police because the people we take with our vehicles are not insured. It is only the police (officers) who are insured,” he said.
“Even the people we arrest and put in our cars are not insured. Should there be an accident they are on their own,” Sebutsoe said.

“It is our duty as the police to take crime suspects in our pick-up vans from where we arrest them to the police station and from the police station to the court for remand,” he said.
Sebutsoe said most of the pick-up vans are not fit for carrying people, saying “they are meant to carry goods only hence the insurance company cannot honour any claims from them”.
Mochoboroane ordered the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Police, Nkopane Monyane, to make sure that a Bill is prepared and brought to parliament to rectify this anomaly.
Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli told the committee he will give Mokonyana a job within the police either as a cleaner or a cook at the officers’ mess.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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