TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant, Vodacom Lesotho, has donated M150 000 to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) arm, Vodacom Foundation.
The funds, which were handed over on Tuesday in Maseru by Vodacom Lesotho Executive Head: Regulatory and External Affairs, Tśepo Ntaopane, would assist the army adequately implement its youth rehabilitation programme called the LDF Youth Camp.
The programme seeks to curb the high rate of gangsterism in Lesotho communities and was launched in 2021 after teenagers, mostly from Koalabata, Naleli, Khubetsoana and Motimposo, had terrorised their villages through robberies and murders.
Infamously known as Manomoro, these youths could be identified through their unique tattoos and were associated with prison gangs as well as those who had been to Lesotho’s cultural initiation schools.
Speaking at the handover ceremony of the M150 000 cheque, Mr Ntaopane said the money was an investment into the children’s future.
“An organisation can accumulate all the profits it needs in the world but without human centricity, that organisation shall meltdown to nothing,” said Mr Ntaopane.
“As Vodacom, we connect for a better future and whenever there is a crisis in the nation, we need to
take part in the resolution process because we cannot divorce ourselves from communities and national issues.”
According to LDF Youth Development Programme Co-ordinator, Major Bokang Melato, the army shared a common purpose with Vodacom whose nexus was signage and national security.
“Our main focus of gathering here today is an extension of our roles in offering human security, health and food, while Vodacom’s extension is corporate social responsibility,” said Major Melato.
For his part, LDF commander, Lieutenant-General Mojalefa Letsoela, said they rejoiced in their
partnership with Vodacom and its unwavering support for their programmes.
Lt-Gen Letsoela further said the youth development programme was in line with the LDF’s mandate of defending and protecting the nation. He added that the programme assisted in shaping Lesotho in the best possible way.
“In 2021 when we started this programme, I could feel that the nation was under siege because the security of the country was faced with a high level of criminal activities and gang recruitments of young people done by gang groups especially in the northern region of Maseru. As the hope of this nation, we needed to act quickly upon it,” said Lt-Gen Letsoela.
The programme, he also noted, instilled love and patriotism for Lesotho in the youth, further highlighting that the nation had to stand united in the fight against gangsterism.