Matekane hands over uniform to LDF



MASERU – Sam Matekane Foundation (SMF) this week handed over medical and logistical resources to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) at an event held at the Ha Ratjomose Barracks in Maseru. SMF contracted Afri-Expo Textiles to manufacture 1 000 soldiers’ uniforms compromising trousers, shirts, winter jackets, caps and combat boots of very high quality. Afri-Expo Textiles (Pty) Ltd is a privately held, 100 percent Basotho-owned textile manufacturing company.

Also donated to the institution are a fully equipped ambulance, 11 wheel chairs, 16 heaters, four intensive care unit (ICU) beds, patients’ trollies, laundry machines and laundry driers for Makoanyane Military Hospital worth M2 million. The donations come after the assistant Chief of Staff – Military Health Services, Brigadier ’Matumelo Ramoqoqo, approached the foundation for assistance. Ramoqoqo said she approached the foundation last year when the hospital was overwhelmed with cases of Covid-19 and the hospital staff was attending patients without adequate resources.

She said they did not even have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and had to turn away some patients because they had no beds to accommodate them. Speaking at the handover, Deputy Army Commander LDF, Major General Matela Matobakele, commended the quality of the donated clothing noting that the donations had come at the right time as soldiers’ uniforms were so worn out that they were now being ridiculed by communities.

Matobakele said some soldiers even resolved to spending their own money to buy uniform because the cash-strapped government last bought new uniforms for soldiers in 2015. He said the 1 000 units are not enough to for all the soldiers but will go a long way in improving the situation while they still make arrangements on how to buy more. For his part, Minister of Defense and National Security, Halebonoe Setšabi, said the new uniform will restore LDF’s dignity which was diminishing as result of worn out uniforms for its members.

He said the institution needs to be prioritized and afforded resources as it is a very important sector that ensures the safety of the country. He echoed Matobakele on the government’s financial state which restricts it from buying soldiers new uniforms. Setšabi promised that the government will make a plan and buy more uniforms so that all soldiers are all clothed.

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