Connect with us


Mokhotlong villagers strike it rich



MASERU – COMMUNITIES around the multi-billion Polihali Dam project in Mokhotlong were last week urged to take advantage of business opportunities brought by the venture.

The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA), which is managing the dam construction on behalf of the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission (LHWC), is working with communities to start businesses.

The Polihali Dam construction, costing approximately M7.68 billion, is under the Lesotho Highlands Development Project (LHWP), owned by Lesotho and South Africa, to tunnel water to Gauteng.

Water from the Polihali Dam will be channeled to Katse Dam, through gravity before being re-tunneled to South Africa via the ’Muela Hydropower Station in Butha-Buthe generating Lesotho’s electricity on its way.

The construction of Polihali Dam, which will be filled with water collected from the rivers of Senqu, Khubelu, Sehong-hong, Mokhotlong and Moremoholo, is expected to be completed in 2028.
Over 4 000 people who include skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled workers have been recruited for the preliminary works, which logically creates business opportunities in the area.

Communities living around the project area are being informed about the business opportunities that could accrue from the construction of the dam.

’Mathato Mpobo, 37, from Mapholaneng in Mokhotlong, has grasped the opportunity.

Mpobo says she already has a poultry project serving the local community.

“So I heeded the LHDA call to expand my project to serve the market in the project area,” Mpobo says.

“I supply eggs to the contractors working in the project area,” she says.

She says the LHDA organised meetings with them informing them that they should think outside the box and come up with projects that could help them put bread on the table.

She wasted no time and expanded the poultry project with just 100 chickens to supply to the contractors building the road from Mapholaneng to Polihali.

Because her business is booming, she has increased her layers to 1 000.

This, she says, enables her to supply 90 trays of eggs a week to three contractors on the site project.

“One contractor needs 50 trays a week while the other two need 20 trays each,” Mpobo says.

Mpobo says she also sells to individuals in her area.

Asked about the business opportunity to sell her products to those running the school feeding programme in the area, Mpobo says eggs are not part of food cooked for the children at schools in the district.

She says she also sells vegetables to the contractors but her small produce is too low to satisfy the market.

She says her business is going well because she even managed to buy a new car that helps her to easily deliver eggs to her clients.

“The profits are good enough to help me put bread on the table,” Mpobo says, adding that she also offered jobs to three men.

Those men help her to collect eggs and put them in the trays.

She says her husband who works elsewhere also supports her in the business.

Mpobo says she wants to intensify production of vegetables on her plot of land so that she can fully take advantage of the market.

She says the LHDA has since made a promise to supply them with tanks so that they can easily water their plants throughout the year.

The LHDA livestock officer, Reentseng Pebane, says some people around the project area were not even aware that they could benefit from the construction of the dam.

“So far we have trained 35 farmers in piggery, 25 in vegetable production and 27 in poultry,” Pebane says.

Pebane says they train the farmers after grouping them. He says each farmer works from his or her home and they only come together when they go for the market.

Meanwhile, the Polihali Project Manager, Gerard Mokone, says they have asked the local producers to enhance local participation in the business instead of watching people from other areas supplying things.

“To achieve this, we asked the contractors to buy local materials that could be supplied by local businesses,” Mokone says.

He says they have also asked the contractors to hire at least four to five percent of the locals for unskilled labour.

Mokone says they asked the contractors to at least buy 10 percent of the products from the local businesses in the district.

“We are happy because the hardware businesses are benefiting above the 10 percent that we have proposed,” Mokone says.

He says this is done to ensure that Basotho businesses are supported. Now catering, transport services and cleaning services are offered by the locals, he says.

Mokone says 100 percent of the unskilled labour in the project is Basotho.

He says South Africa could bring people to work in the project and be given permits because there is an agreement.

He says the benefit sharing in other areas of the project is between Lesotho and South Africa.

He says the agreement between the two countries shows that jobs will be given to Lesotho, South Africa, SADC and other countries of the world.

Majara Molupe

Continue Reading


Why invest for the future



AN investment plan forms a critical pillar of a financial plan, says Tokiso Nthebe, a local author and financial services adviser.

Nthebe, the founder of TKO Financial Wellness and Advisory, says when people invest, they can use their money to buy assets that will increase in value over the long term.
He says these assets can help them build wealth.

“When you invest, your money starts to work for you by providing returns that will beat inflation,’’ Nthebe says.

Nthebe says there is a huge difference between saving and investing.

He says investing requires that you take some level of risk in exchange for an expected return or growth.

Nthebe says Basotho should consider many factors before they decide to start investing.

“It is important to have a clear strategy that guides your investment decisions and to work with qualified professionals,” he says.

Nthebe says one should consider their growth mind-set, investment goals, and their risk tolerance.

In addition, one should consider what kind of growth or return they expect.

He says one should find out whether the institution they invest in is licensed or regulated and how long one should invest.

Nthebe says one should further consider what risks are associated with the investment option and whether there are any associated costs.

He says it is also important to remember that investments take time.

“There are no short cuts to building wealth. Do not fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes,” he says.

Moreover, Nthebe says the investment landscape comprises commercial banks, asset management companies, and insurance companies.

He says each provides different financial products and services.

Nthebe says the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) also offers investment solutions such as treasury bills and treasury bonds that Basotho can consider.

Depending on your investment goals, he says financial service providers have a wide range of investment solutions to choose from that cater for short, medium, and long-term goals.

“I encourage Basotho to do thorough research and seek professional advice before making financial decisions,” he says.

Vince Shorb, the United States National Financial Educators Council CEO, writes that “many of the financial problems people face today started when they were young and making their first financial decisions”.

Shorb further says taking on too much debt, not investing early, and failing to plan can take one decades to recover from such.

However, it takes financial literacy to make good decisions, he says.

Financial literacy has been perceived as a tool that gives you the opportunity to be confident and empowered to live the quality of life you have worked hard for.

Shorb says one of the wisest decisions one can make to prepare for the future is to invest.

Investment has been defined as the commitment of funds with a view to minimising risk and safeguarding capital while earning a return.

Refiloe Mpobole

Continue Reading




When Covid-19 hit and the government shut down all gatherings in April 2020, there seemed no way out for ICONICS (Pty) Ltd, a budding events management company based in Leribe district.

They had two options: shut down or innovate to keep the business going.
They chose the latter.

Three years down the line, ICONICS (Pty) Ltd has completely transformed itself from an events management and public relations company into a manufacturing company that is now the envy of Lesotho.
“The closing of events translated into the closing of our business,” Rapitso Mosebetsi, one of the co-founders of ICONICS (Pty) Ltd told thepost this week.
Mosebetsi established ICONICS in partnership with Tumo Mahapa.

Faced with collapse, Mosebetsi say they began buying Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as surgical gowns, disposal coveralls and safety apparel for resale.
Eventually they decided to manufacture the PPEs and safety clothing. That was the turning point.
But since the company was already down, Mosebetsi says diversification was a hard nut to crack.

“It became quite a long journey (for us),” he says. “We had to come up with something new for the industry.”
He says they had to overcome stiff competition from giant companies and come up with something unique that would set them apart.
“That was how thermal heating apparel was born,” he says.

“We are the first company to produce thermal heating apparel,” he says.
The company manufactures thermal clothing, which is electric clothing, using power banks of five voltages.
“The voltage is so low to electrocute a person,” he says.
The clothing also has a power button to turn it on and off.

Mosebetsi says the thermal heating apparel is on corporate clothing as well as high-visibility clothing.
Mosebetsi says they started the journey with the support of several organisations, such as the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), to build their capacity.
Mosebetsi says they also got mentorship support from organisations such as the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
The results of years of hard work are now all out for everyone to see.

In 2022, ICONICS won the M100 000 Business Plan Competition hosted by BEDCO.
This grant enabled them to acquire land and buy five more industrial machines.
This did not only enable the company to increase their production to 100 worksuits a week, but it further created permanent jobs for five people as well as three temporary workers.

Last year, the company took part in the Exporter of the Year event hosted by the LNDC in partnership with the Lesotho Post Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mosebetsi says they won the award for Lesotho’s most innovative and versatile exporter.
He says this did not only put them in the spotlight, but it further encouraged them to do more.
ICONICS was announced as the best exporter of the year at an event hosted by the LNDC earlier this month.
Mosebetsi says this made them proud, as the award is aligned with their vision.

The award further gives the company an opportunity to participate in the regional competition.
He says this opportunity will further give the company a competitive edge in terms of production locally and globally.
“It will be an honour if we can win the regional competition,” he says.

In terms of markets, Mosebetsi says the company has had the opportunity to list their products in the African Trade Market since 2020 with the support of USAID.
This is an e-commerce platform that opens up the market for African countries to list their products.
Mosebetsi says the company did not only get publicity, but the client database also increased.
He says they moved from supplying individuals only to big companies, different organisations, and different government departments such as those involved in mining and health.

Considering the decline of the Lesotho textile industry, Mosebetsi says their secret to success has been their being innovative.
“Our sustainability is matched with innovation,” he says.
Mosebetsi says it also requires patience coupled with lots of investment in terms of time.
“Rome was not built in one day,” he says.

He says working as a team also plays a critical role.
Despite their achievements, Mosebetsi says the market for innovative industries is one of the hardest nuts to crack.
He says the company is in the process of not only making their products known but also educating people about their safety.
Mosebetsi says the other challenge is the decline of the South African Rand as compared to the US Dollar.

He says some of their materials are sourced from China.
Therefore, it is more expensive to buy such materials.
ICONICS is not only seeking to make their brand well known globally, but Mosebetsi says they are also seeking to create more jobs for our youths.

Own Correspondent

Continue Reading


LetsGo and Win!



LETSHEGO Financial Service has launched the LetsGo and Win loan consolidation campaign where customers win weekly and monthly cash prizes of up to M150 000.
The campaign, which was launched yesterday, will end on November 8.
The LetsGo and Win campaign rewards customers for consolidating their loans.
It is aligned with Letshego Lesotho’s version to offer competitive products that cater for the evolving needs of its customers.

The financial services company operates in Lesotho, Botswana, ESwatini, and Zambia.
The Marketing Manager and Business Partner, Tšotetsi Seema, said Letshego Lesotho is committed to delivering increasing value and options to customers.
Seema said this programme is a testament to that commitment.

“The campaign invites customers to consolidate their loans into one low and easy repayment with reduced rates and they stand to win weekly and monthly prizes,” Seema said.

“The weekly cash prizes will be won by lucky customers randomly selected and notified through Letshego Radio shows,” he said.

Additionally, he said two lucky customers will be randomly selected each month and given a chance to spin the wheel of fortune with a chance to receive a maximum of M20 000 each.

“The loans consolidation campaign makes it easier for customers to choose Letshego Lesotho as their preferred financial services partner.”

He said this innovative campaign aims to help individuals streamline their debt payment while benefiting from reduced interest rates.

“Debt consolidation can help customers get a lower monthly payment, pay off their debt sooner, increase their credit score and simplify their life.”

Letshego Lesotho’s Head of Sales, Distribution and Marketing, Motebang Moeketsi, said managing multiple loans can often be overwhelming with varying interest loans due dates and terms.

“The campaign addresses this challenge by combining multiple loans into a single, easy to manage repayment plan,” Moeketsi said.

He added that this simplification not only eases the financial burden on borrowers but also potentially leads to significant savings over time.
Moreover the new consolidation campaign invites customers to take advantage of their best-in-class financial services provided through Letshego Lesotho branch network and digital platforms.

“Letshego Lesotho is committed to increasing financial inclusion through its efforts to serve underbanked communities, promoting financial literacy and delivering positive social impacts for its customers and communities.”

Alice Samuel

Continue Reading