Lesotho’s new Prime Minister, Sam Matekane is a diamond magnate

Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, a former businessman turned politician, was sworn in as Lesotho’s new prime minister on Friday, October 28.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who attended the occasion, said that Lesotho had over the years served as a haven for many people suffering various hardships in their own countries.

Matekane in his swearing in speech asserted that addressing the problems the 2.1 million Lesotho’s populace is facing should no longer be delayed. He laid out a 20-point strategy to combat corruption and the billions of government deficit.

He founded the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party and announced that he will switch from business to politics at a press conference he conducted in his boutique hotel in March 2022.

The RFP stunned the nation’s political system. In the midst of a protracted period of political unrest due to the country’s unstable government, Matekane, who self-funded a cutting-edge political campaign with significant social media presence, won the 2022 Lesotho General Election on October 7.

Born on March 15, 1958, Matekane was regarded as the nation’s richest person before entering politics, making a substantial part of his wealth from the diamond mining industry.

In his campaign manifesto, he promised to increase markets for Lesotho-made clothing as well as to diversify the goods exported to the US in accordance with the African Growth Opportunities Act.

According to official data, the garment industry employed more than 45,500 textile workers at the start of 2020, making it Lesotho’s second-largest employer behind the government.

However, a quarter of them lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19’s global economic downturn.

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Before presidency

Matekane started out in South Africa as a mechanic apprentice after finishing primary school in Lesotho. Then he worked in the South African Mines after completing his apprenticeship.

His time in the mines was brief, and when he returned to Lesotho in his early 20s, he started working as a salesperson of wool and mohair as well as other products before starting his business.

In 1986, he started the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC). The company first started off as a sales company for construction machinery. Initially, the company bought used and broken automobiles from the government, repaired them, and then sold them back to the government.

The business expanded into the fields of mining, aviation, real estate, and philanthropy as it continued to grow.

Matekane provided funding for a number of national social initiatives through MGC. In his town Mantonyane, Matekane funded the development of a football stadium, a school, a convention centre, and a cost-sharing owner-farmer scheme farm.

He donated testing tools, vaccinations, and other essential medical supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. His foundation — The Sam Matekane Foundation (SMF) donated M8 million worth of police uniform at Lesotho Police Headquarters. 

Matekane also provided numerous kind of donations, including ambulances, ICU beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, a laundry machines, and 1000 military uniforms for the Lesotho Defense Force.

Source: News Agencies

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