MASERU BRIDGE, A GHOST TOWN
Maseru, April.03 — On Saturday morning just hours after Good Friday, Maseru bridge looked like a haunted town as there was no regular traffic.
There were very few motorists and pedestrians like it is usually the case at this time of the year.
Usually at this time, Maseru bridge is packed with people moving in and out of the country which at times would result in others sleeping at the border due to congestion.
This time it was observed that there was not even a single person at the cubicles where passports are scanned before heading into South Africa.
On the Lesotho side, the pedestrian walkway was empty only port health officers were visible. Cleaners from one of the local cleaning company were also seen.
Even on Thursday and Friday few Basotho crossed into the country through Maseru bridge.
Speaking with one of the taxi drivers at the border Lehlohonolo Montši indicated that usually on Easter and December they make more money. The drop in movement across the border this Easter was hard upon them as this is the second Easter that their business made losses. Last year (2020) Easter fell within the lockdown period.
He said they had hoped that since the country moved to colour Blue their business would flourish as they envisaged more Basotho will be coming home for Easter.
Another street vendor at the border, Montšeng Lejone said she has been never experienced anything like this in the last 15 years when has been operating there. She said 2020 and 2021 have been the worst years for her business.
‘I have been selling Basotho hats, t-shirts with Lesotho logo, fighting sticks and some fruits and for me Easter and December are best time for my business as Basotho even South Africans and others would be coming into the country in large numbers and buy but since COVID-19 business has not been well especially because with border restrictions there are no tourists coming into the country’, she added.
She stated that they know that COVID-19 still exists but said there should be measures that governments put in place so that we learn to live with COVID-19 like we did with HIV as it will not be difficult for people to have masks on at all times, other countries are already practising it as long as they get to move on with life and economic activities are open.
Meanwhile Ministry of Home Affairs had adjusted working hours at ports of entry for Easter weekend. Sani and Qacha’s Nek will still operate from 0600hrs to 1800hrs while Van Rooyens and Caledonspoort will be open between 0600hrs and 2200hrs. Maseru and Maputsoe are open 24 hours.
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