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Wild plants oil cosmetics business



MASERU– THEY are wild plants many have dismissed as valueless. Yet for ’Mampho Tjabane, 48, the rosehip, known in Lesotho as ’morobei and the cactus, (torofeie) have provided the raw materials for a flourishing cosmetics business.

Tjabane says when she stated her business in 2014 all she looked for was something special and unique to separate her from her competitors.

She turned to two local plants that have often been dismissed as inconsequential. The plants grow abundantly in Lesotho.

Through careful study and experience, Tjabane says she realised that rosehip oil can have a soothing effect on human skin. And so she began experimenting and using the product to produce capsules for skin and hair improvement.

Tjabane also began mixing rosehip oil with other oils extracted from other indigenous plants to make tissue oil for stretch marks, blemishes, scars to improve skin moisture levels as well as reducing wrinkles and fine lines.

The rosehip oils have also been used to make lip balms.
She is also using extracts from cactus to produce body creams and glycerines.
Tjabane’s other products are made from aloe extracts.
All materials are harvested in Lesotho.

A website,, says rosehip oil offers several benefits when applied externally due to its primary constituents such as essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C and B-carotene, a form of vitamin A.

It also has the anti-aging characteristics due to the antioxidants and the oil’s ability to penetrate into deeper layers of skin. The vitamin C antioxidants stimulate collagen production. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin A improves the skin’s moisture levels and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. says the Ultra Violet rays of the sun damage the skin and cause ageing. This results in wrinkles and discoloration.

However, the combination of properties in rosehip oil seems to combat the damage. The antioxidants and vitamin A, combined with the oil’s essential fatty acids, help improve skin tone, texture and pigmentation.

About the cactus, which grows in arid regions, says it is a source of fibre and contains 17 amino acids of which eight are essential.

The cactus helps improve the skin, hair and facial appearance, according to the website.
It was on the basis of this research that Tjabane launched her cosmetics company, Florratt Cosmetics, three years ago.

She says the company began operations from her home in Maseru East in 2014.
From such humble beginnings, the company has now grown and now has agents in all of Lesotho’s 10 districts as well as Botswana and South Africa.

Tjabane says the company wants to become a centre of excellence in the production of high quality natural cosmetic products that meet customers’ needs.

In its mission statement, the company says it seeks to create results-oriented natural and scientifically formulated cosmetic products that give the skin and hair a consistent colour, texture and hydration.

The company’s marketing strategy means that potential customers must register with Florratt Cosmetics so that they can sell to others in smaller packages.

Tjabane says the company is planning to rebrand its products to ensure they are sold in tubes. Despite carrying out an aggressive marketing campaign, Tjabane says she has sadly realised that Basotho are not too eager to support what is their own.

She thinks this is because “Basotho are not aware of the importance of local herbs”.
“We manufacture cosmetics with aloe herbal products from Lesotho, we use natural organic extracts to rejuvenate our customer’s skin,” she says.

An administration officer at Florratt Cosmetics, Lehloenya Naha, says the company had close to 3 000 distributors across the country.

“Our aim is to trend globally since our products are well known in Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana. We are aiming to satisfy our customers,” Naha says.“So far we have no competitors because we are selling our own products which are different from other products.”

He however adds that “the main challenge is that Basotho do not support or buy locally produced products”.

“We want to use pamphlets to market our products especially to foreigners or tourists,” he says, adding that they want “to show the world that Basotho can create their own products”.
“Our aim is to grow this business. We want to produce products that will satisfy our customers, we want our customers to have a reason to choose us amongst other products,” he says. Florratt Cosmetics currently has 14 permanent workers.

Senate Sekotlo

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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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