Churches want border crisis resolved

Churches want border crisis resolved

MASERU-THE Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) has appealed to the Lesotho and South African governments to work together to solve the problem of cross-border movements.

The churches say they were worried by the long queues at the borders between Lesotho and South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic, which could spread the virus.
“We witnessed as many Basotho sleep on the border waiting to either get allowed to enter or exit the countries, as some were washed away by rivers, while others were jailed,” the CCL statement reads.

The churches say it was also worried that many stranded ones were forced to pay bribes at the borders to cross while some women were also sexually assaulted.
They said some Basotho nationals had been encouraged by government ministers to use official crossing points even if they did not have proper documentation.

They were told that they would not be arrested.
“In this state, we say the governments of these two countries should come together to help solve the issue of movements between them,” the statement reads.
The churches say the two governments should uphold respect for human dignity by agreeing on what should happen with regard to how people are tested for Covid-19 at the borders.

“Our government has allowed scores of Basotho to enter the country without having tested for Covid-19 and the result of that are the shockingly hiked infections,” the statement reads.
“When those Basotho go back to South Africa for work, they are found to have been infected upon testing and they are returned back home, some of them have lost their jobs,” it reads.

Turning to the Lesotho government, the churches said there should be a clear policy to ensure monitoring of the execution of Covid-19 tests.
On the lockdown, the churches said the government should always plan together with all stakeholders before imposing it on the people.

The CCL says it is unfair that the government has ordered street vendors selling essential goods such as fruits and vegetables while at the same time allowing big retail shops to open.
“This is discrimination that is prejudicial to the Basotho nation,” the CCL says, adding that many businesses that are open during the lockdown belong to foreigners.

Staff Reporter

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