Lesotho’s Minister of Small Business, Thesele Maseribana, has appealed to President Cyrill Ramaphosa to urgently open doors for neighbouring SADC leaders to assist in expediting dialogue around the unrest in South Africa.

Lesotho’s small business community is already feeling the pinch with much of its main trade corridor completely locked out to the rest of the neighbouring region.

The usually crowded and buzzy uptown of the capital Maseru is abnormally quiet. From COVID-19 pandemic harsh lockdowns to newly-erupted unrest in neighbouring South Africa, small businesses are feeling the pinch.

Street Vendor, Moeketsi Rangoajane says: “We can’t go there because everyone is scared.”

In 1998, the Kingdom of Lesotho was engulfed in violent riots that saw key business districts gutted with fire and massive looting.

Lesotho Minister Of Small Business, Thesele Maseribane says they are still feeling the impact of that.

Minister Maseribane is appealing to the president Ramaphosa to open doors for dialogue, even from other regional leaders. And with fears of looming fuel shortage and other essentials supplies, there is more apprehension.

President of import car dealers association of Lesotho, Hussain Zacky says: “We as the car dealers here have been stopped because of these riots.”

“There is too many crimes…protect it and save us.”

The unrest in South Africa began after the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma, who began serving his 15-month sentence on Wednesday night last week.

The initially peaceful protests turned violent turn on Friday, leaving a trail of destruction behind.

Estimated cost of the riots in Zuma’s home turf of KwaZulu-Natal is estimated to be around R20 billion.

Collapse of the supply of all goods as a result of lootings: