Basotho warned to avoid Harrismith

Basotho warned to avoid Harrismith

MASERU – BASOTHO travelling to South Africa should avoid Harrismith because of violent protests there, a senior diplomat has warned.
’Mamotsie Motsie, a consular official based in Durban, said a violent protest against foreign truck drivers erupted in Harrismith last Sunday.
“Some South Africans are saying foreigners are taking over their jobs,” she told thepost.

“No Basotho were injured during the protest,” added Motsie.
She said although the South African police were on the lookout for those instigating the attacks, Basotho travelling to South Africa should still exercise caution.

She said her colleague was travelling from Gauteng when he noticed that foreign truck drivers were under attack and officials decided to warn people against unnecessarily venturing into the area.

South Africa is a close trading partner of Lesotho, with thousands of Basotho travelling to the neighbouring country daily.

Last April, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised Basotho to use alternative routes following protests in the Free State towns of Steynsrus, Senekal, Wynberg and Marquard.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had received reports of people being attacked during the Free State protests as locals accused foreigners of taking over their jobs. However, there are no reports of Basotho being part of the victims.
The ministry said it is working with the Lesotho High Commission and consulates in South Africa to obtain more details on protests in different parts of South Africa; hence the travel warning still stands.

Although no official reports of injuries to Basotho have been reported, some are claiming on social media that they have been victims of the attacks.
One man claimed his wife was attacked by protesters and her car stoned, although she managed to escape.

Another said his car was also stoned by protesters who were burning tyres. He said he sped from the area to avoid any further damage.

Letlotlo Mncina

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