Home » Lesotho frustrates tycoon Sam Matekane’s Sesiu Solidarity Fund initiative to procure COVID-19 vaccines

Lesotho frustrates tycoon Sam Matekane’s Sesiu Solidarity Fund initiative to procure COVID-19 vaccines

by Editorial Team

Government officials in Lesotho are frustrating a private sector initiative to procure 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccines by delaying a letter of authorization, Eyewitness News reported

The Sesiu Solidarity Fund, chaired by Sam Matekane, has been on the Health Ministry’s waiting list to receive an authorization letter after raising R25 million ($1.71 million) and securing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

The solidarity fund is a private sector-led drive to procure vaccines for the landlocked Southern African country. “We are together with our government, leading the whole thing just to make sure that we try and get as much as possible of our people vaccinated,” Eyewitness News quoted Matekane as saying.

Since the pandemic struck in March 2020, Lesotho has recorded 10,709 COVID-19 cases, 315 deaths and 5,028 recoveries, according to World Meters. 

Although South Africa, which has the worst outbreak of COVID-19 on the continent, encircles Lesotho, it has largely been able to curtail the virus’s spread within its borders. 

Lesotho is aiming to vaccinate 1.4 million of its 2.2 million people at a cost of R125 million ($8.57 million). However, Sesiu raised R25 million ($1.71 million) in March with the goal of deploying the first 100,000 vaccines. 

“If all goes well, we will be able to get the first 100,000 by the end of May and after that 100,000 per month,” he said. However, his optimism seems to have been short-lived.

Promises from the Health Ministry and Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to hasten the authorization process have not yet been met.

Matekane is the founder of Lesotho-based multimillion-dollar company, Matekane Transport Plant Hire Pty Ltd., which has interests in construction, aviation, mining, real estate and agriculture. It employs over 400 people and generates $77.22 million annually, according to the D&B Business Directory. He also sits on the board of Meso Diamond Pty Ltd., a state-owned enterprise with operations in oil and gas, nonferrous metals, mining and rucking.

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