Minister reassures protesting taxi operators

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Motsamai Mokotjo

Police Minister Monyane Moleleki on Tuesday assured protesting taxi operators that seven days were enough for government to respond to their grievances.

Mr Moleleki made the remark as he received a list of the operators’ concerns in Maseru, on behalf of Finance Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla and Transport Minister Tšoeu Mokeretla.

Members of the Maseru Region Transport Operators, Mejametalane Transport Operators, Starring Committee, South and North Regions Taxi Associations and BTOR petitioned Mr Moleleki, Dr Khaketla and Mr Mokeretla outlining several complaints which they want addressed within one week.

The grievances range from alleged harassment of taxi drivers by the police and government’s decision to award a six-month fleet supply and maintenance contract to South African car-hire company Bidvest last month, “at the expense of Basotho businesses”.

Although Dr Khaketla has since said Bidvest would not bid for the fleet tender when the deal expires in March 2016, the operators want government to terminate the partnership  with immediate effect and award them the contract.

However, Dr Khaketla was not available to receive the petition as she was attending Cabinet and Senate business, with Mr Mokeretla and Mr Moleleki the only ones available to receive the petitions.

Mr Moleleki told the scores of taxi operators and their employees, who had parked their vehicles in Thetsane and marched to the city centre to handover their petitions to the three ministers, that government would be taking their grievances seriously.

“We should listen to you and promise you and the public that we will advise ourselves accordingly and return with answers. Seven days are enough to look into your problems,” Mr Moleleki said as he received the petitions on behalf of his two colleagues.

“We are going to report to cabinet. We are governed by you and the public should also learn that this is how democracy works. If there are issues, they should be resolved peacefully.

“We accept the petitions with humility because we are servants of the people.”

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