SA dispels border disruption fears

MASERU — The seven-day South African civil servants strike which begins today is not expected to disrupt operations at the Lesotho-South Africa border, a senior immigration official has said.

South African civil servants across the country are expected to down tools beginning today to press for better salaries and improved working conditions.

There were fears that the strike could seriously paralyse operations at the border post that serves as a key business hub for Lesotho which is entirely surrounded by South Africa.

There were fears that thousands of people who stay in nearby South African towns but work in Lesotho would not be able to cross the border during the strike.

There were also fears that Lesotho would not be able to import food and other basics during the strike as delivery vans would not be able to cross the border.

But Free State home affairs provincial manager, Bonakele Mayekiso, told the Lesotho Times yesterday that they did not expect the strike to seriously disrupt services at the border post.

Mayekiso said they had already put contingency plans to deal with the strike.

He added that the bulk of workers at the border post were not members of the Public Service Association (PSA) that called the strike.

He said only immigration workers who are members of the association will be allowed to join the strike.

“We have contingency plans to continue providing services at the border post should immigration workers who are members of the PSA join the strike.

“Their number however is less than those who are employed on contract and therefore cannot join the strike,” Mayekiso said.

The South African civil servants are demanding an 8.6 percent raise on their salaries. The government had offered the workers a 6.5 percent increase which they rejected.

They also want their housing allowance hiked from R500 to R1 000 per month.

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