By Teboho Serutla
The minister of agriculture, marketing and food security Tefo Mapesela says it was his decision to put a halt to the issuing of bottled water import permits, which is effective from February 8.
Mapesela caused a stir on social media on Sunday when a cryptic public notice appeared to have been signed by him went viral, which announced a halt to the issuing of bottled water import permits. The notice effectively bars the importation of water.
“It is estimated that Lesotho imports bottled water valued at M69million per year. This significate water imports play a critical part in eroding the economy of this nation.
“Despite Lesotho’s abundant water resources we have always been known to import bottled water, however this has reached intolerable levels. The country has worked on the international standards for production of water to ensure the health of consumer is guaranteed. Above this, the ministry if working tirelessly in an effort to strengthen value chains in water bottling industry to ensure maximum benefit on the economy.
“Therefore, the government of Lesotho, through the ministry of agriculture is diverging into a new direction of seizing to issue bottle water permits as of today, the 8th February 2021. In terms of Agricultural Marketing Act of which its authority is vested to the minister of agriculture, marketing and food security (sic).”
Approached to confirm the origin of the document, Mapesela proclaimed that he had indeed written the letter.
“The (unspecified) ministry has no laws to regulate trading in water resources, therefore I had to intervene on its behalf to make sure that bottled water is no longer imported since we have plenty of water in the country.”
LETTER ISSUED BY TEFO MAPESELA