Currently, there are 12 000 Lesotho citizens who have appended their signatures to be part of the new association called Bahaeso Holdings, which has membership in all the nine provinces of South Africa.
Basotho living and working in South Africa have always wanted to establish a body that would help them address the various challenges they meet over the years, but getting it underway proved to be a challenge on its own.
According to the outfit’s spokesperson Julia Sekete, they however, met no huddles when they registered the association as a legal entity in South Africa.
“The procedure is simple, you just submit online documents at Companies and Intellectual Property Commission of the Republic of South Africa,” she says, adding that the applicants are later issued with registration certificates.
The next step is applicants have to file tax clearances to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) along with all essential compliance documents like bank account applications.
But the only delays they encountered were brought about by the national lockdowns the country had imposed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The process started in April but a lot of other documents were only obtained by the end of September,” Mrs Sekete says.
Their sales and marketing team, she says has drawn a campaign road-map for all provinces, targeting hotspots of Basotho nationals working in the mines, farms, construction sites and factories.
She notes that their provincial coordinators are busy organising meetings with human resource managers of such units.
But there is the challenge of observing the COVID-19 regulations, which are opposed to large gatherings.
The association’s current primary goal is to be fully operational in the coastal farms of Durban and Cape Town by December.
Mrs Sekete says they are currently looking for convenient means of communication in order to reach as many people as possible. “Digital means is one of them. We are busy packaging the Bahaeso FM,” she adds.
A grave and longstanding concern for them has always been the ill-treatment Lesotho citizens get at the hands of their South African masters in work places.
The abuse has over the years seen many Basotho being unfairly dismissed from SA farms and households where many work as maids.
The abuse goes beyond the perimeters of employment as it extends to among others insurance and burial services, Mrs Sekete also says.
“The other challenge is that of legal representation and the transfer of goods from South Africa to Lesotho.
“Basotho living in South Africa have had a serious problem of making various permits,” she says without mincing her words that the journey has been both long and tedious.
With a sore heart, she recalls the sad reality of seeing other Basotho nationals being booted out of their rented homes when they failed to pay rentals at the height of the pandemic.
“Some we actually left without a roof over their heads and were forced to sleep on the street,” she remembers.
This is the sink or swim situation that further prompted Basotho to come together and collectively fight their problems in that foreign land.