DEPUTY Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu says if elected to power, a Democratic Congress (DC) government will swiftly implement reforms to improve the welfare of textile workers.
Among others, a DC government will introduce a fully paid three-months’ maternity leave for female factory workers and decent retirement packages for all employees, Mr Mokhothu said.
He made the promises while addressing hundreds of DC supporters at a weekend rally in Maputsoe, Leribe. Just like Thetsane, Maseru, Maputsoe is a textiles hub and many people there are employed in the factories.
Mr Mokhothu said the majority of factories were established by previous congress governments to provide employment for Basotho.
He said his campaign message was specifically packaged for factory workers because “it is imperative that you give me your votes for DC to form government and reform the textile industry for your benefit”.
The envisaged reforms under a post-election DC government also include the establishment of health centres at factories to enable workers to have easy access to health services, he said.
“My plea is that you vote for the DC so that we can set the plans we have for you in motion.
“There will be laws to end discrimination against expecting mothers who are currently not given a three-months paid leave. We will ensure that factory workers get a decent pension package upon retirement. Wouldn’t it be nice to take home at M50 000 or M70 000 when you retire, based on your years of service?
“We also plan to bring health services to the factories so that workers can seek medical help during and after working hours. Additionally, we want to ensure that Basotho become partners with international investors to have ownership of these industries. Factories should not be owned exclusively by foreigners. As times goes on, even workers themselves can band together to buy shares so that they can contribute to their country’s economy. Only a DC government can tackle challenges that you are facing,” Mr Mokhothu said.
Mr Mokhothu expressed satisfaction with the rally turnout and thanked the district party structures “for the sterling job you have done here”.
“We have your best interests at heart. We urge everyone, not just DC supporters but all factory workers and Basotho at large to vote for us. They must vote for a political party that preaches peace and has their best interests at heart. I urge all Basotho to attend DC rallies to listen my message first-hand so that they can make an informed decision. Please do not judge me before you hear what I have to say,” Mr Mokhothu said.
He said the DC should only be judged after being given the full mandate to run the country.
“Some people are asking why I am asking to be elected to power when I am already deputy prime minister. I am only deputy prime minister, not the prime minister. As things stand, the DC does not command enough numbers in parliament to make decisions. Even in cabinet, we don’t have enough numbers to make final decisions. We are not the majority. Our manifesto is the best and that is why many people are asking why we can’t implement it now. I understand their frustration because ours is a mouth-watering manifesto.
“If you want to see DC in government implementing its manifesto, then vote for the party in October. Give us five years in power so that we can deploy ministers and principal secretaries to deliver,” said Mr Mokhothu, whose party is the second biggest in the governing coalition which is led by Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s All Basotho Convention (ABC).