Lesotho nationals fear for their lives in South Africa

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The minister in the office of the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Likopo Mahase, says the violence directed to Lesotho nationals in Hankey this past week must be addressed between the two countries.

He was speaking in Jeffrey’s Bay where more than a 100 Lesotho nationals departed for their home country on buses after being displaced from their homes.

More than 400 people were originally displaced in clashes between Lesotho nationals and residents of Centerton in Hankey. Mahase says there are large numbers of Lesotho citizens who work on farms from the Gamtoos Valley right up to Cape Town.

“They have lost their jobs and the same time the farmers have lost their productivity. It is a problem that needs to be addressed by the government, both Lesotho and South Africa. We need each other. SA is the only neighbour of Lesotho, we are enclosed by South Africa so we need to iron out the issues between Lesotho and SA, especially Labour,” says Mahase.

High tensions 

The seasonal workers from Lesotho and Mthatha who were displaced during clashes with locals have been moved out of the town and are heading home. The violence was triggered after two men were murdered last week-end allegedly by foreign nationals. The groups clashed and the protesting locals also blockaded the road to Patensie.

The affected workers were escorted out of the Entabeni informal settlement by the police on Wednesday night. South African seasonal workers from the Mthatha area who lived in the area also left for their own safety.

Nobody has been arrested yet in connection with the two murders that sparked the protest.

However, one person was arrested on charges of public violence and damage to infrastructure in connection with the closure of the Patensie road. Police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, says the police will maintain its presence in the area.