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Migrants should not come home – Majoro

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro

March 5, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

THE Lesotho Migrant Workers Association is vexed by the government’s decision that Basotho in the diaspora should not come home for Easter holidays in order to lower the threat of spreading the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro said on Sunday that Basotho working in South Africa and other countries should not consider coming home for the Easter holidays but instead stay where they are.

He said infection risks emanating from cross border travel remains elevated on account of expected inward travel from Basotho migrants returning home for the holidays.

But, the migrant workers association says the decision demonstrates that the government does not have clear strategy in dealing with cross border issues.

Cases of illegal border hopping, which saw some people drowning in the Mohokare River, the association say are likely to increase because people cannot afford not to come home for the holidays.

“I am happy to report today that the infection rate that peaked at 47 percent has now dropped to seven percent. Bed occupation rates and deaths have also dropped significantly. However, risks of another spike remain elevated as of today.

“I want to take this opportunity to encourage Basotho in South Africa not to come home during the Easter holidays and continue taking care of themselves wherever they are,” Dr Majoro said.

Last year during the Christmas holidays, cases of COVID-19 sky rocketed and the death toll also increased mainly due to the inward travel from Basotho migrant workers from South Africa.

Instead of forcing people to stay where they are during the coming holidays, the association believes migrant workers could be allowed to come home and like health professionals be given priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

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This, the association says would save more jobs which are currently under threat as SA employers have already given foreign nationals an ultimatum to get vaccinated in their home countries or lose their jobs.     

Domestic workers particularly, are already falling victims of this. 

“We are very angry with what the Prime Minister has said. At the moment, countries are taking full responsibility to vaccinate their citizens. And holidays are perfect moments for countries to welcome migrant workers and get them vaccinated. But, instead our Prime Minister has different views. This is sad and shows that he does not have a clear strategy in dealing with this issue,” the Executive Director of the Lesotho Migrant Workers Association, Lerato Nkhetše said in an interview with Metro on Tuesday. 

He said their expectation was that migrant workers would be allowed into the country and be the first to be vaccinated in order to lower the threat of spreading the virus.

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