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Basotho miners dying of Covid-19 in SA

July 27, 2020 3 min read

3 min read

MASERU - Basotho miners working in South Africa have started to die due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reports have shown. Metro has it on good authority that the pandemic has recently killed at least two miners, one from Mafeteng and another from Leribe

The paper has established that the pandemic is currently wreaking havoc to many lives in different mines in South Africa. Almost every day there is a report of a Covid-19 related death in the mining industry, even those that are coming from other neighbouring countries.

With these developments, the Ex-Miners Association of Lesotho has expressed deep concern over the level of awareness and the way information is being disseminated through the mining industry.

The association confirmed to Metro that indeed Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, saying that due to the level of illiteracy among Basotho miners, education that is being provided about the pandemic may be difficult to comprehend.

“Most of these people did not go to school at all and are therefore away from all the structures that are being employed to create awareness and provide updates on the pandemic.

“We can also confirm having received reports of Covid-19 related deaths among Basotho miners. We always receive reports on a regular basis. Even those who are coming into the country through illegal ports of entry normally report to us when they get home,” the representative of Ex-Miners Association of Lesotho Rantšo Mantsi said in an interview with this paper on Tuesday.

 We can also confirm having received reports of Covid-19 related deaths among Basotho miners.

Mantsi said his association should be capacitated financially to be in a position to provide education about the pandemic to Basotho miners in the diaspora.

According to him, only his association can help miners to understand what Covid-19 is, as they both speak the same language.

“We are the ones who can help these people during this tough situation because we understand them better. This should be done using the language they can easily understand. Relevant methodologies should be employed with regard to education and dissemination of information provided to these people.

“It should be noted that most of them cannot read and hardly listen to the radio and very unfortunately no one wants to give us a chance to help our people. It is therefore safe to say that to date, many of them still do not know what is happening,” Mantsi further explained.

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The association went further to take a jibe at government, saying that the latter disregards miners in this country. This, the association shows is despite the fact that the miners also represent a large part of the population, particularly in rural areas of Lesotho.

“The people that are running the government do not care about us at all. We do not exist in their vocabulary and that is another worrying factor. Even civil society organisations are not willing to help us despite the fact that we are card-carrying members of such organisations,” Mantsi said.

The association likened the pandemic to the 1980s when HIV/AIDS first came into picture in Lesotho.Basotho miners ended up contracting the disease due to lack of education as well as being neglected by the authorities. Many of them died and families were left suffering, Mantsi recalls.

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