THE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has extended the operating hours at the country’s ports of entry to cater for the anticipated influx of holiday-makers entering the country during the festive season.
Apart from the two commercial border gates of Maseru and Maputsoe which operate for 24 hours throughout the year, the rest of the border gates normally close at 22:00 hours.
However, beginning today up to 23 December, Caledonspoort in Butha Buthe will extend its operating hours from 06:00hrs to 00:00hrs at midnight, while on 23 December border gate will be open for 24 hours to 24 December.
After that it will close and only re-open on 2 January 2017 from 06:00hrs to 00:00hrs.
The Van Royeen’s Gate in Mafeteng will also extend its working hours beginning today from 06:00hrs to 00:00hrs midnight until 23 December and it will operate from 06:00hrs to 00:00hrs on 24 December.
The Qacha’s Nek border gate will open from 06:00hrs to 22:00hrs from 19 December to 24 December.
LRA’s Southern Region Customs Manager Mamoswati Polisa yesterday told the Lesotho Times that the extended hours facilitate holiday-makers’ movements between Lesotho and South Africa.
“16 December is a national holiday in South Africa and that usually marks the beginning of Christmas holidays for many companies in that country,” Ms Polisa said, adding, “from that date onwards most people working in South Africa will make trips into the country and are likely to be back at work by the 2nd of January 2017”.
“So, this adjustment has been informed by the past observations that border movement peaks during that period of the year,” she said.
She said additional personnel would re-assigned from less busy departments of the LRA in order to cope with the increased work load.
She added the LRA had also agreed with their South African counterparts to similarly extend their operating hours.
A further statement from the LRA reads; “The extended hours will allow local and foreign nationals including holiday-makers to have easy access to Lesotho and South Africa. The extension of working hours will ease the long queues of people and traffic at all commercial borders that are a familiar sight during the festive season.
“The same arrangement will apply again from 29th December 2016 to 2nd January 2017. The two main border posts; Maseru and Maputsoe will as usual continue to operate 24hrs. Other smaller ports of entry such as Tele, Peka, Makhaleng, Ramatseliso and Sephapho shall stick to normal operating hours.”