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Enjoy your monkeyshines while it lasts

by Lesotho Times

AISE your hand if the government of Lesotho paid for your certificate, diploma, degree or any higher academic qualification.

Raise that hand high. Do I see thousands of Basotho hands up in Lesotho, South Africa and the diaspora?


Now, keep that hand up if you have fully paid or you are at least trying to repay that loan.

Do I see thousands of hands dropping to confirm their owners have not bothered to repay those loans?


No surprises there. Scrutator has never had an iota of doubt that there are thousands of people who haven’t paid or don’t even bother to pay their educational loans.

It’s shameful.

Now, listen up you delinquent debtors out there: if you work or you are running a business and you have not paid your loan to the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) or you are not even trying to pay then you are a thief.

A wretched thief is what you are. You are a thief of money.

I repeat: if you are working or are into business and you have not paid or you are not trying to pay your loan then you are  a shameless crook.

There is no difference between you and government officials you are so fond of labelling “thieves”.

Like them, you too have a penchant for dipping your long, calloused and “ill-mannered” fingers into state coffers.

You are not different from other shoplifters and even bank robbers who are currently doing time for taking what is not theirs.

You are a pickpocket who just hasn’t been jailed because you haven’t been caught.

It is only because of the incompetence of the NMDS that you are still out of jail.

Were it not for that you would be doing time and making acquaintances with the ruthless lice that reside permanently in those prison blankets.



ut before you brandish your molamu or assegai to lynch Scrutator please let her explain how she came to this unfortunate conclusion.

After that you can make your “war cry” and do what you deem necessary.

There are people with a sickening mindset that what they owe to the government is not a debt (remember block farming).

They are educated on the taxpayers’ account then they disappear as if that money was manna from heaven (Even the Israelites got their manna after much suffering).

There are many in our midst who have the means to pay their educational loans but have just decided that this government is so rich that it doesn’t deserve to be paid its dues.

Some actually gloat with gusto that they will never pay those loans while at the same time they are busy servicing debts for trinkets.

They have no qualms paying their furniture and clothing accounts yet they cry crimson tears when the government politely asks them to repay their educational loans.

They think that defaulting on a government loan is no big deal.



hese thieves have no shame, I tell you. After high school they queue up at the NMDS offices to get funding for tertiary education.

They even get living and book allowances. Although they still complain that the allowances are not enough in their hearts of hearts they know that they are fortunate to be getting an education.

And when the ever inept NMDS delays their allowances they go nuts.

Their argument is always that by delaying the grants the NMDS is violating the contract.

They haul the hopeless secretariat over the coals and blast the government for being insensitive to their plight.

Yet as soon as they get their certificates they conveniently forget to keep their end of the bargain.

When the government politely calls its loans they will duck, dive or plead poverty. The favourite excuse is that there is no way they can pay their debts when their “take home” salaries can’t even take them home.

While this might be a logical explanation to some Scrutator believes that is just hokum. The repayment of a debt has nothing to do with your other obligations.

When you borrow from the bank you still have to repay the loan whether you are earning peanuts or have other pressing obligations.

The same should apply with the government grants. It is not the creditor’s problem that you are in a low paying job. If things are terrible you should at least ask for a brief reprieve.

No one has stopped those people from negotiating favourable payment terms with the government.

You can even pay M10 every month because what really matters is not the amount but that at least you are showing a willingness to pay.



hen the NMDS was established it was supposed to run the educational loan facility as a revolving fund. Those educated by the government were supposed to repay their loans so more people could be educated.

But somewhere along the way the NMDS reduced its role to that of dishing out the grants.

They dished out the grants in trucks and received the repayments in wheelbarrows. Surely the secretariat must take some of the blame for this mess.

Yet that doesn’t justify running away from your loans. Those who have not and are not paying their loans are saboteurs of the highest order.

They are hastening the collapse of an education system that is already ailing.

They are looting resources meant for future generations.

What irritates Scrutator is that when the government cuts the number of scholarships such delinquents are the first to shout obscenities.

They are the loudest on radio.



lsewhere in the world students take up part-time jobs to repay their loans.

They work three jobs just to get out of debt. During summer holidays they are toiling day and night to repay what they owe the government or banks.

In Lesotho students spend their time drinking and partying. The heat of the sun coming through their bedroom windows is what awakens them.

But who can blame them? They have learnt from their elders that a debt owed to the government is nothing to worry about.

Scrutator can bet her prized boobs that there will come a time when this government will be too broke to fund more students.

There will come a time when students will have to pay their way through tertiary education.

That will be a time when they will have to seek loans from commercial banks to pay their fees. Enjoy your monkeyshines while you can for tomorrow doesn’t look so good.



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Lesotho’s widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. 

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