MASERU– The bricklaying business in Mohalalitoe caused immense soil erosion, due to high amount of soil used within the place and neighbouring places.
The business that had existed far beyond 1993 has caused much soil erosion such that the bricklayers are now getting soil in other places or rather buying it from people who have great fields. The place they operate on, before they occupied it was used for growing corn and sorghum as for now it has changed into a donga like place, that scarcely have soil for the manufacture and production of the brick blocks.
The bricklaying organisation, which the pioneers say it’s between Mohalalitoe and Ha Thamae. It’s composed of about 50 members who are all independent but working together to uplift those who are struggling to make it big in the business. They sell a block of brick for M1,20 each. Their bricks are categorised in numbers; Number1, Number2 and Number3, of which number 1 bricks thousand of them are sold for a sum of M1,200 , number 2 thousand is amounted to M1,100 and number3 thousand of them costs M1,000. The differences in brick numbers is influenced by the way they got burned after moulding. The most burned is named number1, while for half burned is given number2 name and finally the least burned which is numbered 3.
‘‘The business has gone through a series of changes now that the soil is scarce and we have to get it from far places, sometimes the water in the donga is not enough for the creation of bricks so mass production is affected ’’ said one of the workers Mokhitli Makhofane.
The bricks are made from a mixture of ashes, water and soil. The ashes are bought and brought to the bricklayers from the factories in the rail station, loaded on trucks and the delivery charges are paid by them. They are moulded in crates of which a single crate has four boxes making four blocks, then left out to dry for about a period of a week.
After the drying period, the bricks are placed in a pyramid like structure that has been lit fire underneath as to burn the raw blocks turning them into final products that are distributed for sale. They are burned in the structure for approximately two weeks, the structure which is built by waste bricks and covered by mud. During the burning process the members every now and then go to the structure and re-arrange the bricks in order for them to burn nicely.
When the burning duration is over the structure is bulldozed and the bricks are taken out and stacked according to their respective numbers. The place where the structure was made it is used again for the next production to take place, so the process continuous again.
‘‘I gave the place to them long time ago but now the issue of the erosion that is within the place is disturbing.’’ Declared Mr Tlali, Maseru municipality and chief of Mohalalitoe.
The place has been given to the bricklayers by the municipality of Maseru City Council (MCC) long time ago and they enjoy the pleasure of not paying the taxes. However, they don’t have enough time to enjoy that due to the scarcity of water and soil. The water they use is from the donga near the place of operation, of which is not enough because they use it and the villagers use it for irrigation and to water their livestock, so that leaves little room for mass production to the bricklaying business.