#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe

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1. Local headlines

While the rest of the world is easing Covid-19 related restrictions and enabling business to slowly get back on its business, South Africa continues to tighten border restrictions, leading to an unprecedented impact on Basotho and their businesses

Truck driver Leloko Tamasane said he had waited at the border gate for hours to deliver stones to South Africa’s Gauteng province, just because he was told that he needs an export permit, even though he had never been required to produce such a permit before.  

‘Masello Mpeeane, who works as a teacher at a school in South Africa, said she was supposed to report to work last week but could not make it because she was barred from crossing. Mpeeane reports that the situation is really frustrating because she has all the confirmation documents required from her employer, but when she got to the border gate she was told she needed to be in a group so they could be sent to quarantine. 

Meanwhile, the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) says the South African border authorities at Maseru Bridge had taken a unilateral decision to impose strict measures on movement of goods across the South African borders as part of enforcement of lockdown level three regulations. LRA noted that the decision resulted in trucks from Lesotho being barred from crossing the border, causing a huge uproar. [Border squeeze disables business, The Reporter]

2. Local headlines

The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr, Moeketsi Majoro paid an Official Visit to the Republic of South Africa from 11 to 13 June, 2020, accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Mathibeli Mokhothu. His delegation comprised the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Honourable ‘Matsepo Molise – Ramakoae and Senior Officials from Foreign Affairs.  

President Cyril Maatamela Ramaphosa’s delegation to the meeting consisted, among others, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Honourable Naledi Pandor, Minister of Defence Honourable Noviviwe Noluthando Mapisa – Nqakula, Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, former Minister Honourable Jeff Radebe.

The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the cordial relations existing between the two sisterly countries and pressing bilateral challenges. This visit, only three weeks since the new Coalition Government assumed power, is a true sign that the Government of Lesotho values the cordial bilateral relationship with the Government of South Africa.

The meeting which was held at the Presidential Residence on Friday 12 June, 2020, was successful. Among issues which were discussed were the strengthening of bilateral relations, challenges arising from the COVID – 19 pandemic, including its impact on the economy and welfare of the people, Government’s commitment to the implementation of reforms and SADC decisions to Lesotho.

[Press statement on the official visit of the Right Honourable The Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro to the Republic of South Africa from 11 to 13 June, 2020, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Lesotho]

3. Global headlines

South Africa’s president says it has been a “dark and shameful week” for his country following a surge in violence against women. Cyril Ramaphosa’s remarks come after several femicides, including one woman who was eight months pregnant and found stabbed and hanging from a tree.

The culture of silence around gender-based violence had to end, he said. “Gender-based violence thrives in a climate of silence. With our silence, by looking the other way because we believe it is a personal or family matter, we become complicit in this most insidious of crimes,” President Ramaphosa said.

As many as 51% of women in South Africa had experienced violence at the hands of someone they were in a relationship with, the president’s statement said. [South African president’s shame over surge in murders of women, BBC]

4. In lifestyle

Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls was opened to a limited number of visitors last Monday as the country prepares to market its prime tourist destination again.

The falls were opened to tourism operators for the purposes of marketing domestic tourism after the Covid-19 lockdown halted international travel. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Tinashe Farawo reports that they wrote to the government with a proposal to reopen.

“Our main target for now is day visitors and after that we could promote domestic tourism. We wait for the government’s permission,” he said. Tourism companies have also been urged to take bookings because the industry was hit hard by the lockdown. An estimated 50% of jobs were lost in the sector as hotels and tour companies cut costs. [Zimparks wants Victoria Falls reopened to domestic tourists, TimesLive]

5. What we’re reading

Have you ever felt like everyone else has great ideas but you don’t? This article shows why you’re more original than you might think and offers a few recommendations on how you can take the leap from fear to acting on your ideas. [Why Successful People Seem To Always Have Unique Ideas (But Maybe You Don’t), Forbes

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Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.