Lesotho nationals stranded in SA to receive food subsidies

The Mountain Kingdom has partnered with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to distribute funds.

FILE: In this photo taken on 31 May 2017 Lesotho political party All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Prime Minister Tom Thabane gives an interview to Agence France-Presse at his residence in Maseru. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane on Tuesday said citizens stranded in South Africa would start receiving food subsidies this week.

The kingdom has partnered with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to distribute funds.

But Thabane was concerned that many others were making dangerous illegal crossings to go home, and they slipped through untested for COVID-19 into a country that had not started testing.

The prime minister said the IOM would soon announce outlets in South Africa where Lesotho citizens could receive subsidies to buy food.

But the announcement came as thousands had already started entering Lesotho at unauthorised and sometimes dangerous places.

Thabane said this was worrying as they were not tested for COVID-19 because the ministry of health was yet to start local testing.

Meanwhile, Thabane decided to re-open non-essential businesses for limited hours, government, and parastatals on shifts, as well as some school grades and churches with a maximum of 50 people.

He said people should wear masks at all times when they are outside.