Matekane pledges millions to enable Lesotho to test for COVID-19  


Bereng Mpaki

PROMINENT business tycoon and philanthropist Sam Matekane has pledged to fund the government to upgrade its laboratories to enable them to test for suspected cases of the deadly Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19).

Lesotho does not have any testing facilities of its own and currently depends on South Africa to test its suspected cases of the virus.

But this will soon come to an end after Mr Matekane this week pledged to spend as much as M300 million to assist the government to upgrade its laboratories dotted around the country’s districts so that they are able to test for the virus.

So far Lesotho has not recorded any infections although there are fears that the disease could be brought in from South Africa by people who illegally cross the two countries’ borders.

Addressing the media this week, Mr Matekane said it was important for Lesotho to quickly develop its own testing capabilities to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) founder said he was working with the Ministry of Health to capacitate the laboratories.

“I decided to do something after observing the plight of my country when it comes to testing suspects for COVID-19,” Mr Matekane said.

“We need to test our people so that we can know their status. It may that we do not have any confirmed COVID-19 cases because we have not tested a substantial number of the people.

“Testing locally will help us to know how many people are infected for sure and that information will make it easier for us to come up with appropriate courses of action.”

“We are going to upgrade existing government laboratories and equip them with equipment for testing COVID 19. We will also ensure that the testing equipment donated from China is usable.”

Last month Mr Matekane donated 3000 face masks and 40 containers of 25 litre hand sanitisers worth M250 000 to the Ministry of Health to help fight the virus.

He also appealed to the nation to join him and other stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19.

“This is a global challenge and it calls for all of us to stand together. We all need to play a role in fighting this monster which is threatening to wipe us out. We are nothing without one another.”

He also appealed to the public to restrict their movements and stay at home in line with the nationwide lockdown ordered by the government as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The lockdown began on 30 March 2020 and is expected to end on the 21st of this month.





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