No end in sight to mortuary dispute

LT 06By ‘Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — The dispute between Khubetsoana villagers and the director of Martin’s Funeral Services mortuary continues as villager insist they want the mortuary removed from their village.

Villagers are saying they have consulted the authorities but nothing has changed.

A community representative, Nazah Surtie, said the community has lost faith in community leaders anymore because the issue has taken a very long time to resolve.

“It’s been a very long time since we have been complaining about this mortuary and nothing has been done. Our community members are very angry; they even suspect that we are not doing our job as the body they chose to represent them,” Surtie said.

“They suspect we might have been given bribes to be silent”.

In addition to the longstanding complaint by the villagers that it is unhealthy to have a mortuary amidst their homes, Surtie also said the community was also unhappy that the mortuary does not have a generator to support its refrigerators when power goes off.

The case is currently at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences.

A villager who refused to be named said the owner of the company never consulted them when she started the business.

“She didn’t consult us. She only spoke to some residents who were working at Fato-Fato in Mabote village who said they needed that development.

“We suggested that she should go and do the development for people who need it since we are not comfortable about it”, she said.

The villagers even allege that their chief authorised the business without consulting them.

“Surprisingly some of the people whose names appeared on a list which they claim were villagers who agreed to the development have denied that they were consulted,” he said.

Maseru City Council (MCC) spokesperson, Lintle Moerane, said they gave Martin’s Funeral Services mortuary a certificate based on the Impact Environmental Assessment (IEA)) report they got from the environmental health department.

“The IEA report showed that they have passed and we had to do our duty to give them the certificate but then we heard that villagers were not happy. There are other departments involved in dealing with this issue,” Moerane said.

Liahelo Nkaota, an information officer with the Ministry of Trade and Industry said the business was legally registered.

“The owner of the mortuary has an authentic trader’s license and during our investigations we realised that the mortuary cannot pose any harm on its operations to the community,” she said.

The management at Martin’s Funeral Services funeral told the Lesotho Times there is nothing she can do about people who don’t like her.

“I have followed the right procedure to acquire the license and am currently running so I am not going to comment on issues of people who accuse me of doing things I did not do,” she said.

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