The people’s councillor

The people’s councillor

MASERU-WHEN ‘Mapuleng Mosooane decided to become an entrepreneur, politics was the last thing on her mind – let alone become the councillor for her area.
“All I knew was that I was running my mill project to supplement my husband’s salary,” she said.

Seeing how farmers on the plateau of Thuathe were struggling to find grinding mills for their grains, Mosooane sensed business opportunity and took it.
But she did not have enough money to buy the mill, which cost a staggering M60 000 at the time.
To add to the family’s woes, her husband did not qualify for a bank loan of that magnitude.

The 40-year-old businesswoman says the setback did not frustrate her plans and, together with her husband, moved from pillar to post looking for money to add to the M45 000 that her husband got from the bank.
“After we managed to buy the mill, we did not have a structure to house it. People would just pass here going to faraway places to grind their grains unaware that we had a mill here,” she recalls.

It was a huge challenge that the family had to overcome to attract customers.
She says her husband got some old iron sheets from a relative that they used to erect a shack.
“More clients came in and the business grew from strength to strength,” Mosooane says.

Another problem soon arose however. There was no electricity in the area to power the mill.
“We used our car to power the mill,” she says.
This saw their business growing significantly and after a year, they managed to buy a second mill.

“I operated the mill for a year. And I was able to engage one man who would assist when I attended some errands,” Mosooane says.
Today, Mosooane owns nine mills that are generating a steady income for the family.

Realising her grit, a group of women approached her asking her to contest the Local Government elections in 2015.
She says she was not interested in politics but the women pledged their unwavering support.
“The results were fantastic. I won the elections. Even now, people seem impressed with my work in the council,” says Mosooane with a smile.

She is one of a few people in politics elected to positions on the basis of their contribution to community development as most people are elected based on their party loyalties.
Mosooane says she has managed to start a poultry project for women in the area in a bid to fight poverty.

“I am part of it,” she says, adding that women should try and make a difference in their communities.
She managed to ensure the building of roads in the area, making access to markets and other services easier.
Mosooane says she has also managed to install water to villages that were without the precious liquid for years.

She has not neglected the social needs of the community and has been assisting some local football teams by providing them with kits and transport to matches.
“We used to take them to the matches using my cars. In that way, I have also contributed towards the success of sports locally,” Mosooane says.

However, lack of resources due to low budgetary allocations is threatening her desire to leave an indelible mark in local politics.
“There are still some needs such as water and electricity that I have to address but I am being hampered by the limited budget,” she said.

Majara Molupe

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