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COVID-19 hits textile factories

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Thabiso Molapo

July 16, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

A total of 407 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Maputsoe industrial estate in the last 72 hours, the Leribe District Administrator, Mohlomphehi Mohobelo has said.

The new cases are factory workers drawn from five factories in the industrial area.

Mr Mohobelo said in one firm, they confirmed over 200 cases of the pandemic.

“We are already working with the National COVID-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) and the Ministry of Health to contain the situation,” he said, adding that they however have a shortage of vehicles to properly do contact tracing.

He said in the mist of this pandemic that is wreaking havoc at the factories, they have advised the infected to be quarantined to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

“The factories have not closed shop, work is still in progress,” he said.

To help curb the spread of the pandemic in the area, Mr Mohobelo said they do not allow people from South Africa to be in the same taxis with other passengers.

He said they arrange special transport for Basotho returning from South Africa so that they do not mingle with other people before they get tested in Lesotho.

NACOSEC Public Relations Manager Thabo Ntoi announced on a local radio station that about 1 000 Basotho enter the country from South Africa in a week through different border gates.

“There is no doubt that these people bring more infections into the country, owing to the high infection rate in South Africa.”


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The sad reality is that some of them cross illegally into the country with taking any COVID tests, he said, adding that infections in the district started in schools and now they have spread to the factories.

Meanwhile, media reports show that Precious Garment at the Maseru West Industrial Estate has shut down for two weeks after confirming high numbers of COVID cases.

The Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL) Deputy Secretary General May Rathakane said the high infection rates are not prevalent in Maputsoe alone.

He said owing to the high COVID cases in the factories, he personally approached the Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Thabiso Molapo to raise his concerns.

Mr Rathakane said chances are high that more factories will soon close down due to the pandemic.

“The problem is that some of the employers do not want the employees to stay at home when they are ill, threatening to hold their salaries. The workers themselves cannot afford not to get paid, so it’s a bad situation,” he said.



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