There is a common saying that when South Africa sneezes, Lesotho catches a flu.
This saying is definitely going to translate into reality amid the escalating political unrest in South Africa, the experts have shown.
Lerata Pekane, a former Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Small Businesses, Development, Cooperatives and Marketing who is also a Chartered Accountant told this publication that the strident political unrests in South Africa are already having dire effects on Lesotho.
“What is happening in South Africa is definitely going to affect Lesotho in a negative way. The means the economy will not escape unscathed,” he said.
The riots that erupted in Kwazulu-Natal after former president Jacob Zuma’s arrest last week blocked movement in that province that Lesotho uses for importing goods from other countries beyond SA.
The disturbances which have since spread to Gauteng broke out after Zuma entered the Estcourt Correctional facility last week Wednesday to serve a 15-month sentence imposed by the Constitutional Court for contempt of court.
This, after he failed to appear before the Zondo Commission of Enquiry when he was ordered to.
“Lesotho uses the Durban port to import goods from other countries.
“Because the economy is already struggling with the negative impact of tightening lockdown restrictions, Lesotho will feel more heat resulting from the lawlessness and criminality taking place in South Africa.”
Mr Pekane said there are several Lesotho nationals who work in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng who are going to lose their jobs as the looting and destruction of property continues.
“So if these people are unable to bring back remittances to their homes, their families will suffer,” he said.
“With remittances that Basotho bring into the country, family financial needs such as school fees, food, clothing and many more will not be taken care of.
“Undoubtedly, their families are going to be locked into wretched poverty.
“The economic fallout has happened thick and fast. Lesotho imports 80 percent of what it uses on a daily basis from South Africa,” Mr Pekane said.
Big retail outlets in Lesotho that originate in South Africa, import their goodies from crime-riddled Durban and Gauteng.
Now they are distressed.
The chaos has affected every country that is South Africa’s neighbour with the latter as the economic hub of the region, Mr Pekane.