About 500 business owners from Ladybrand, in the Free State, who have business interests in neighbouring Lesotho are unable to cross the border to operate their businesses. Some say this is despite them conducting business that is regarded as essential services.

They say the COVID-19 lockdown is hitting their operations hard.

“I don’t think there’s fairness to cross the border security is an essential service but I can’t get to cross the border. But drivers delivering goods are able to cross daily with challenges whereas if I get to cross I will be quarantined,” says Mantja Hlalele, who runs a security services company in Lesotho.

“Fortunately my business is going on in a way, but there is a lot lacking because I’m not there. But I think there’s a lot of unfairness when it come to drivers crossing the border because my drivers goes in an out,” some traders say.

Hope for eased regulations

Tsholo Kalake is employed in Lesotho and says he is unable to go to work. “I reside here in Ladybrand with my family but I work in Lesotho, it means I’m crossing the border on the daily basis. You might be able to cross the border to Lesotho, but the problem is that I will not be able to come back home because I will be quarantined,” says Kalake.

Tim Elliott also shares his frustrations over the lockdown. “I have about 700 staff members and because of lockdown it is becoming impossible for us to open our businesses. Lesotho is operating but because we are South Africans we can’t cross daily into Lesotho. We are unable to cross the international border,” says Elliott.

Businesses are hoping that there will be communication between the two countries that will help to see regulations being eased for movement.