Passport applications for miners eased

By Limpho Sello
MASERU — The government has pledged to fast track the issuing of passports to Basotho working in South African mines. This follows Labour Minister Lebesa Maloi’s visit to the Basotho miners, who have been complaining about what they see as the government’s lethargic response to their problems.

Maloi this week told a press conference after his visit to South Africa that the Basotho miners had complained that delays in getting passports compromised their ability to retain and secure their jobs.
Basotho miners working in South Africa face a plethora of problems from the delayed issuance of passports which affect their movements to getting paid their packages in the event of retirement or dismissals.

Maloi said to help the miners with proper information and advice, he had been accompanied on the trip by representatives from the Ministries of Labour and Employment, Home Affairs, the Employment Bureau Agency (Teba), the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), the Master of the
High Court and the Central Bank of Lesotho.

Maloi said he urged the miners to go through Teba whenever they wanted to apply for passports as
Teba was in a position to facilitate their applications much faster..“On behalf of the Home Affairs
Minister, I further told them of the relevant documentation needed in order to apply for identity documents that will help them to get their passports,” Maloi said.

Maloi further said the miners were also concerned about the delays in the payments of compensatory benefits in the event if death or injuries at work. Maloi said the issue of delays in the payment of compensation remained a critical one.

“Because of the delays, people now resort to seeking assistance from other people who claim to help them get the money fast but after that they rob them by demanding the lion’s share, leaving the beneficiary with a small amount of money,” he said.

Maloi said he was working with his South African counterpart Mildred Oliphant to resolve the problem.They had signed a memorandum of understanding to resolve most of the problems faced by the miners including the late payment of compensation and social security issues for the
miners.

Maloi and his delegation also adviced the miners to invest in the right way in Lesotho after they are
retrenched or retired.

The Central Bank of Lesotho explained various long-term and shortterm investment policies suitable for the miners to help them prepare for life after retrenchment or retirement. The minister said some Basothominers had a tendency of starting new families while in South Africa while some were ignorant about theimportance of having a will to avoid inheritance issues upon death.

The South African law stipulates that if a man stays with a woman for three months, then he is bound to support her and when he dies his estate will have to be shared with the woman as well. This could impact on miners who started new families in South Africa.

Maloi visited mines in Welkom,Rustenburg, Gauteng and Mpumalanga to hear the concerns of the
mine workers and come up with solutions to the problems they are facing.

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