By Malisema Mahloane –
The minister of police honorable Lebona Lephema has recently imposed night curfew from 10pm to 4am indefinitely. Starting the 16th May (yesterday) the movement restriction follows the May 15 the killing in cold blood of a popular radio presenter and journalist Ralikonelo Joki by unknown gunmen. This regulation is expected to stabilize the nation following recent cold murders that shook the country.
However, not every person is of the same view the curfew is imposed for a good will especially the business sector. Unpacking the economic impacts of the nightlife business Mr Mathe, owner of renowned club Kasi Kota says the curfew brings sour impacts to lives, societies and may result in job losses. Some businesses hire over 20 plus individuals who are also bread winners and unfortunately the system doesn’t recognize nightlife as part of job creation.
“This system doesn’t recognize that there are individuals who make money because of these establishments like parking marshals, street vendors, cab drivers to name a few operate at night. Small businesses like ice deliveries, ice companies also employ workers to facilitate the process.” Mathe says.
He continues that still in the nightlife business, water industries with bottled water also are affected by this curfew together with recycling because community benefits from it. In the end the entertainment industry and tourism are largely impacted negatively which results in poor economy. People cannot pay rent once this is imposed and high risk in crime, depression and loss of jobs kick in. Mathe adds, “We cannot all of us afford to work 5 to 5. It hurts because I also am a degree holder who will never ever look for a job but sustain himself through running a business.”
Many other business people feel that before imposing curfews, decisions should not be based on one point of view. Flava from Flava Events feels strongly there is a possibility of people losing their jobs if this is going to be a long term thing without any subsidies to substitute the current situation that is ongoing in our country.
“I have people working under my company based in other districts and the travel to Maseru from Fri-Sun during events. So now that there is a curfew I doubt they will be able to work.
Some people feel that the curfew is not well planned, government should introspect since this will not address the intended motive. Dj Bootz Bafokeng Ramoseli says “the curfew is going to kill us, it’s a selfish decision from government because that will not solve crime as a problem. People get shot during the day at 7. How will 10 to 4 solve the killings?
Mr Lebajoa a cross border transport owner and shopper said he does private shopping for customers. He insists the curfew is going to badly affect them. He said the previous lockdown curfew affected them but it was more understandable as there was spread of Covid-19 which they had to avoid. This curfew does not cater for them as business people especially him because he is a Joburg runner and he normally travel at early hours so that he can arrive early. He has many customers who order stock from different places hence had to arrive at Joburg in the early hours. He leaves Lesotho at around 1am. He concluded that the curfew is going to economically affect him as he is now going to use the profits he makes in the business to rent houses to sleep and also had to spend days on journey which used to take a day.
Another painfully affected businessman is Mr.Kopano Sekhoari, the manager of Urban Taxis who foresees a negative impact brought about by the curfew on his cab business. His business make money better during the night than during the day. He pointed out that out of his 36 cars only 11 of them are operated during the day and the rest during the night which shows how high the demand they have at night is. Now he is going to have to decrease the number of cars that are operated at night and he is also going to have to terminate the contracts of some of his drivers and he might even face a lawsuit because that will be against their agreements.
He also stated that he is going to have to let go of his night shift staff in his office now that night business is affected. He reckons that this might lead business to shut down because there will be nothing to sustain it anymore. He is also scared the rate of unemployment might increase. Most of the youth work at the informal sectors where they get paid with tips from foreigners and with this curfew now, they will not be having that type of market. As for his drivers, they will no longer be able to pick up people from the airport who sometimes call them during late hours of the night.
During this time, the nation is advised to comply with the conditions of the curfew. Carry personal identification documents at all times, remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by security personnel. Plan for movement and business disruptions, lastly avoid all demonstrations.