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Youths charge Lesotho border jumpers

The Maputsoe/Ficksburg border gate

Oct. 2, 2020 1 min read

1 min read

STRICT border crossing regulations have created roaring business at the Maseru Border Gate for unemployed youths who charge travellers to avoid immigration and coronavirus checks.

The border has remained eerily quiet as the anticipated flood of travelers has not happened owing to the requirement that travellers produce a COVID-19 clearance certificate to enter either South Africa or Lesotho.

Taxi owners interviewed on the South African side said the lift on the travel ban has only benefitted the rich who can afford the R850 testing fee.

“This was intended to allow rich people who use airports to come to South Africa,” said a Manyatseng Taxi Owners Association member who declined to be named as he sat in his empty minibus.

As this reporter watched, a group of travellers crossing to Lesotho were spirited across the porous frontier under the steel and girder bridge by a group of youths.

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Other youths have also been active in this type of business at other borders including Van Rooyen, Maputsoe/Ficksburg and Fourisburg, charging travellers around R250 to take them across since South Africa barricaded itself on March 27 to control the spread of the deadly virus.

One of the youths known as lirurubele (butterflies) locally offered to take the reporter to Maseru for as little as R50.

“You can pay more that side,” the young man said.

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