‘Are we not essential workers: we make masks, scrubs, etc’



. . . tailor asks as govt hands out more food packages


MASERU – Ministry of Small business development, Co-operatives and Marketing today gave away food packages to small business owners.

Almost 600 registered vendors of small businesses including owners of salons, dressmakers, small printing and embroidery businesses are eligible to each receiving food packages consisting one 5kg packet of beans and a 12.5 kg packet of maize meal.

Lisebo Seipobi, a member of the People in Business Association said they appreciate the government’s initiative although it does not make much of a difference as they are not allowed to go back to work soon.

“We welcome the gifts from government but we are faced with so much distresses that cannot be solved by food alone. We are not making any income,” she said, adding, “Some of us have not even recovered from the effects of the previous lockdown in 2020; our rent debts are cumulating. We are struggling to pay rent for the places we rented for work.”

Asked what they would like for government to do, she pleaded with the Prime Minister and Minister of Health to revisit current regulations towards vendors as their income is dependent on their daily production and sales.

One recipients of the package, Maitumeleng Mokoma, who is a dressmaker, said if they were allowed to work, there would be no need for government to donate food packages.

“We are capable of working, we can provide for ourselves but now government has taken that away from us. Would we be here if they had allowed us to work? We make masks, scrubs, hospital sheets and other protective health wear; are we not essential workers too? We can even work reduced working hours per day,” she said.

Hairdresser Rethabile Mokitimi said if government wants to intervene, it should at least work towards arranging rent subsidies with their landlords.

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