Scores of angry Mapoteng residents took to the streets yesterday morning to protest the “abuse” they are allegedly subjected to by a Chinese who operates a business in their village.
The villagers first gathered at Mapoteng Hospital junction, before marching to Mapoteng Police Station holding placards denouncing the shop-owner they only identified as Adar. The irate villagers presented a petition of their grievances at the police station, before proceeding to the businessman’s shop, where they challenged him to come out and confront them.
One of the villagers, Ramabolu Masimphane, told the Lesotho Times that the residents had tolerated the businessman’s abusive behaviour for too long.
“Initially, we had though he would change, but it appears he is unrepentant and continues insulting and even assaulting local residents, and mostly his employees.
“He was recently taken to court by his driver who accused him of assault. The poor man had to resign, but luckily, he was compensated for the abuse,” Mr Masimphane said.
“Today, the villagers felt that they had had enough of this man’s attitude because he does not respect Basotho who are supporting his business.
“The same man cooks expired food from his shop, which he then gives to the elderly who come to his shop to spend their old-age grants. He acts as if he is doing them a favour, yet he is endangering their lives by giving them expired food.
“When you complain about the expired goods in his shop, he attacks you. What we are saying is we want him out of the village; his associates can remain but him, Adar, must leave.”
Mr Masimphane said the angry mob had “really wanted to attack the businessman” who opened the shop “a long time ago” but were stopped by the police, who advised them to take legal action if they had any complaints against him.
“It is very unfortunate because in spite of our grievances, we still support this man because we don’t have an alternative shop where we can buy goods.
“We believe that if there was competition here, he would not be acting this way. For that reason we want him out of our village because he never appreciates the support he gets from us; instead, he disrespects, and treats us like animals.”
Teyateyaneng District Commissioner of Police, Senior Superintendent ‘Makhethisa Mosenene, yesterday confirmed the residents’ protest.
“I can confirm that Terebane villagers have complained about a male Chinese national who is a businessman in their village. They alleged that the man assaults and insults them and also sells expired goods in his shop, which they have to buy because they have no alternative.
“We advised them to report their cases especially those who claim to have been insulted and victims of assault. We are going to contact the relevant departments on the issue of expired goods, he allegedly sells,” Senior Superintendent Mosenene said, adding an investigation into the villagers’ complaints had been launched.