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Ministry undecided about King’s birthday celebration

Ntsoaki Motaung

His Majesty King III’s 2020 July birthday celebrations are limbo according to Home Affairs Principal Secretary ‘Machabana Letsie.

Letsie blamed the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic which has affected movement as well as halt of gatherings of any nature.

The PS said since the Public Health Regulations 2020 averted mass gatherings, His Majesty’s 57th birthday party falls under the gatherings.

The 2020 party, which was meant to be marked in Berea, may also not see the light of the day due to the Covid-19.

“We started with preparations in January and February, but then we were disrupted by the (Covid-19) pandemic,’’ Letsie told Newsday this week.

She further indicated that since the cabinet has changed, they will engage with authorities to plot a way forward.

“There are other pressing issues in Parliament such as the national budget. I am yet to talk with the minister about the King’s birthday; I just briefed him, but we will have a proper meeting to discuss the celebration soon.

“I cannot categorically deny or confirm whether the event will take place or not this year,’’ Letsie said.

When asked about this year’s budget, she was hesitant to reveal the amounts, however, gladly indicated that in 2019 the ceremony was budgeted M2.6 million.

She said they previously budgeted for three events being King’s Birthday, Moshoeshoe’s Day, and Independence Day.

She added that the ministry used monies from the contingency fund to celebrate His Majesty’s 56th anniversary.

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