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Govt, transport operators smoke peace pipe

Ntsoaki Motaung

On-going talks between the government of Lesotho and public transport operators momentarily halted what was supposed to be a weeklong public transport blackout in only the second day.

On Thursday October 22 representatives from both parties came out to announce that they had decided to smoke the peace pipe and momentarily put the strike in abeyance while the government committed to removing the infamous Mobile Court from the roads.

 This arrangement is meant to give talks between the parties a chance to wind to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Speaking on behalf of government, Minister of Justice and Law Professor Nqosa Mahao indicated that the operators signed ‘cease fire’ pact with ministers of Transport, Police, Public Works, Small Business Development and the Deputy Minister of Water.

He indicated that the taxi operators also demanded that their 11 members be released from custody as part of the temporary agreement.

“The taxi operators also demanded that their members who were arrested be released from custody. But the Minister of Police and Public Safety ‘Mamoipone Senauoane indicated that the matter is an issue of law which cannot just be undone at one instruction as the law would have to take its cause. She said however they would look into it with her colleagues and see legal implications,” he said.

 Meanwhile, speaking on the behalf of the transport operators, Mathe Khalane the Deputy Chairperson of the combined operators regions reiterated the fact that they were halting their strike to give dialogue a chance.

“We have agreed to temporarily withdraw our strike so as to give the ongoing talks space so that we can reach a permanent agreement with the government. We therefore announce that from tomorrow 23rd October we will provide transport services to Basotho. We also have one of our members who was shot and in bad space, we want that to be dealt with accordingly,” he said.  

This strike was a result of the Mobile Court which began operations from July and focused on road transport crimes. However, since it began operations, the court has attracted more enmity from the general motorists community (not just public transport operators) who have accused it of meting out callous judgements and operating outside the bounds of law.

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