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Millennials are setting a global trend of moving back home.

According to The Guardian, a quarter of the young adults in the UK live with their parents. In the US, according to Pew Research Centre, more people are living with their parents than in 1940s.

This somewhat reminds us of a painful reality that we have buried in the depths of our collective memory: times are hard.

When rand started gaining, boosted by larger than expected trade surplus for June and weak US GDP data which pulled back the timing for Fed rate tightening, the poor didn’t experience any change. The prices of unleaded and leaded fell but they continued to feel the pinch. The poor then will only celebrate victory when the prices – food prices – have fallen.

But, when will that be?  The investigation by a special police unit into allegations that Gordhan oversaw the establishment of an illicit investigation during his tenure as head of national tax agency has changed, literally, everything: the rand was set for the largest weekly slump, last week, since December, when Nhlanhla Nene was fired and replaced with a little-known lawmaker, against the Dollar.

According to fin24, there is a 50% probability that should SA’s minister of finance be replaced, rand will decline by R3.00.

Rand will fall – so much fall as swoop like a kamikaze pilot out of the sun with screeching engines and a wail of air-raid sirens.

We are supposed to be cool but it helps to sometimes face reality, lose positive demeanor and say, “This is way too much. My days are nightmarish!”

Well, maybe just maybe these are challenges a youth of 1940 was faced with!

Still, I believe it’s unfair to compare the millennials with the 1940 youth: the cost of services has increased at a much higher rate than that of other commodities in recent years – no wonder you are feeling broke at your highest pay.

We are a generation of consumers and have pawned our future to the hilt in an effort to maintain our living standards.  Modern life is partly to blame!

The degree of stress young people put themselves under in the pursuit of affluence is frightening – millennials value external symbols of success more highly than internal wholeness. And this, without us knowing, messes our lives?

I quite often visit people with either a pool or a court, sometimes both. You would think that they spend hours using these wonderful amenities, but more often than not, nobody ever uses them.  The funny thing is, they are sinking in debt and cannot even insure their lives for the amount of the bond (the cost is low) to ensure that, should something happen to them prematurely, their family will be bond-free in the security of their own homes.

We are millenials and our world is obsessed with the exceptional. We admire prodigies and geniuses and multimillionaires, and we believe that some people are fundamentally capable of greatness while others are not; we want to be these people – the select few. The inordinate weight this puts on our fragile shoulders is incomprehensible.

Believe me: this is the pressure that makes our generation oblivious of the fact that a gentle frugality with our own and world’s resources seems a whole lot sexier than vulgar and conspicuous consumption – the subsequent results are inflation and high cost of borrowing.

I am perfectly imperfect and, human as I am, try to not fall a victim of the crazy expectations people have on me. Perfection is so overrated, that is why you will find me dancing all the time – not because I am perfect, just because I love dancing and know that too much sitting and not doing much encourages lymph nodes to accumulate waste, reducing immunity.

So, we need to learn not to spend our lives on autopilot, research has found out that a wandering mind makes people unhappy, and make better financial decisions – does retail therapy ring a bell?

I am a great fan of mindfulness. It is incredible to have space where you are allowed to just be, especially at a time in life when you’re feeling things very intensely. The more I slow down and listen to my breath, the less I have to worry about. I start to feel that I am coming home to myself.

And, believe me, I have started buying things I need; nothing more. My lipstick addiction is gone – frankly speaking, I do not know how many lipsticks I own. With time, I am starting to discover myself: I am simple, understated and value ‘me time’ more than anything.

I discovered my love for Scandinavian Style: understated hues, natural materials, and tactile textures.  And, luckily, mindfulness enables me to help you be financially savvy and you better use them – it seems like we are heading for tougher times. The tips are as follows:

Curb your eating out. Those lunch breaks add up, so consider making your own food. Keep your restaurant visits to a minimum.

Look for free activities. Go to the library for books or magazines. Spend time doing cheap outdoor activities like mountain climbing and jogging and ditch the gym.

Buying bulk with friends. If you are single, buying bulk (which is cheaper) just doesn’t make sense. Consider buying bulk with friends and splitting the goods.

Sell your old clutter. Most of it might look like junk, but, believe me, it will come handy to another person.

Save on food. Skip the name brand foods and get store brands. Remember to buy only what you need.

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LEC to switch off households over debts



MASERU – The Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) will from Tuesday next week begin switching off clients who owe it money.

The LEC issued a seven-day ultimatum to all customers who owe it on Tuesday last week. The deadline ends on Monday.

It is expected that the LEC will begin switching off households that have defaulted.

The state-owned power company, however, is not going to touch any government department or business entities that owe it on grounds that they are in payment negotiations.

The LEC move comes barely two weeks after it cut electricity supplies to the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) thus causing it to fail to pump water to communities countrywide for more than two days.

The LEC says it is owed close to M200 million by government departments, businesses and individuals.

The LEC spokesman, Tšepang Ledia, told thepost that the government and the businesses will not have their electricity cut because they are in negotiations.

“We are in negotiations with the government and businesses and hopefully they will pay,” Ledia said.

“We advise the ordinary people to pay their debts before the 20th of March 2023 or else we cut the services,” he said.

The LEC says it is running short of funds for its daily operations.

In December last year the company increased power tariffs by 7.9 percent on both energy and maximum demand charges across all customer categories for the Financial Year 2022/23.

Last week the LEC boss, Mohato Seleke, said postpaid consumers and sundry debtors owe the company M169.4 million.

He said unless the debtors pay he will be unable to buy electricity from ’Muela Hydropower Project, Eskom in South Africa and Mozambique’s EDM.

This, he said, could cause serious load shedding in the country and could be devastating for businesses.

Seleke said the LEC spends M630 million monthly to buy electricity.

“If postpaid consumers do not settle their debts this could prevent the LEC from being able to buy electricity which can lead the country to encounter load-shedding,” Seleke said.

Seleke said collecting debt from government department ministries was a challenge as there is an understanding that since LEC is a state-owned company, it will continue supplying government agencies with electricity and they will settle their bills when they have funds to do so.

Seleke said the LEC has lost M21 million to vandalism during this financial year.

Relebohile Tšepe

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Bumper payout for former mineworkers



MASERU – AT least 11 316 current as well as former mine workers are set for a bumper payout after Tshiamiso Trust began disbursing the first billion Maloti to workers who are suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis.

The payment comes two years after Tshiamiso Trust began processing claims for the historical M5 billion settlement agreement between mineworkers and six gold mines in South Africa.

Speaking at the payment announcement in Maseru last week, the Trust’s CEO, Lusanda Jiya, said it has been two years since they officially began accepting claims.

“Our people come to work every day with the mission of impacting lives for the better, and the first billion rand paid out to over 11 000 families is just the beginning,” Jiya said.

“We know that there is no compensation that will ever be enough to undo the suffering endured by mine workers and their families,” he said.

“However, we are committed to deliver our mandate and ensure that every family that is eligible for compensation receives it.”

Jiya said the Trust is limited both in terms of the time in which they can operate, and the extent to which they can assist those seeking compensation.

Broadly speaking, the eligibility criteria include among others that the mineworker must have worked at one of the qualifying gold mines between March 12, 1965 and December 10, 2019.

Secondly, living mineworkers must have permanent lung damage from silicosis or TB and deceased mine workers representatives must have evidence that proves that they (the deceased) died from TB or Silicosis.

Tshiamiso Trust has a lifespan of 12 years, ending in February 2031.

Over 111 000 claims have been received to date, through offices in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini, and Mozambique.

The Trust is working with stakeholders in these countries and others to mobilise its efforts and expand operations.

The history of silicosis in South Africa goes back to the late 1880’s when the first gold mines began operations.

The gold was stored and locked in quartz, a special rock that contains large amounts of silica.

Crystallised silica particles can cause serious respiratory damage if inhaled.

In the earlier days of gold mining, dust control, health and safety standards and the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) were not as advanced as they are today.

Tshiamiso Trust was established in 2020 to give effect to the settlement agreement reached between six mining companies.

The companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Gold Fields.

The settlement agreement was reached and made after a ruling by the Johannesburg High Court as a result of a historic class action by former and current mineworkers against the six gold mines.

Justice for Miners is a coalition of interested parties in the mining sector launched at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg in 2020.

The Johannesburg High Court approved the setting up of the Tshiamiso Trust to facilitate payment by the companies to affected miners.

Keith Chapatarongo

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Farmers cry over cost of livestock feed



MASERU – Lehlohonolo Mokhethi is a farmer who has been running a successful poultry business, thanks to a small loan he got from a local bank.

He now has 300 chickens.

He says his vision is to rear 5 000 chickens by 2025 and employ 30 youths. But he is now grappling with a new challenge: the ever increasing cost of chicken feed.

That is threatening the viability of his business.

“The biggest challenge is that food prices increase every day, feeding is expensive,” Mokhethi said.

“It is quite difficult to make profit in business if each and every day food prices increase. Today I am buying a bag of food with a certain amount then the next day the price has increased,” he says.

“Our customers fail dismally to understand that food has increased and the Chinese are taking our market because they sell at a low price thus I run at a loss.”

Last week, a top attorney in Maseru who is also a prominent farmer, Tiisetso Sello-Mafatle, called a meeting for farmers to discuss these challenges.

She says the government must regulate the prices of livestock feed.

That is critical if the farming business is to succeed, she says.

Attorney Sello-Mafatle says farmers must come up with a structure for livestock feed prices which they would present to the government for gazetting.

“We should state our regulations and give them to the government to make everything easy for both parties because we cannot wait for the government to make regulations for us,” Sello-Mafatle says.

She adds that “farmers should be bullish about what they want and never have fear endorsing new things”.

“I will not be challenged or cry (because of) what life throws at me but I will cry when things are not happening the right way,” she says.

Mafatle says farmers need to know who they are and know the capabilities they have.

“This will help a farmer in becoming the best in any field they are in once they are confident about themselves,” she says.

Karabo Lijo, another participant, said they have to influence the cost of inputs in agriculture, especially livestock feed.

“We have to go back to cost-price analysis where as farmers we are able to derive the selling price and the break-even point in our production,” Lijo said.

“We can also derive the stable or constant mark-ups on our products,” he said.

“We need to do research to increase the ability to produce byproducts which are likely to have the longest shelve life,” he said.

The meeting urged farmers to diversify their products by introducing such things as mushroom farming. They said mushrooms can grow very well in Lesotho due to its favourable climate.

The farmers also demanded that there should be regulations on how land can be sold or borrowed in Lesotho.

Tholoana Lesenya and Alice Samuel

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