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Lesotho, SA must strengthen security on shared borders

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — South Africa’s High Commissioner to Lesotho, Reverend Pumla Majeke, says the two countries should work together to strengthen security at their shared borders. Majeke was speaking at an event to celebrate the 19th anniversary of Freedom Day that marked the demise of apartheid. The day is celebrated on April 27 every year.

He said there was need to curb unlawful movement along the border and stamp out human trafficking and illegal immigration. “South Africa and Lesotho governments should mend their borders to stop illegal immigration. “It is in our interest that Lesotho is a safe place. Anything that may destabilise Lesotho will affect us,” Majeke said. He said the South African government is also thankful for Lesotho’s support in the selection of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Majeke said South Africa will continue to support Lesotho and other African governments in any way possible. “We are thankful to Lesotho for helping Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma succeed for her appointment as chairperson of the AU,” he said. Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman to head the AU Commission. She beat incumbent Jean Ping from Gabon in a closely fought election that went to four rounds of voting.

Speaking at the same occasion, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lebesa Maloi, said the mutual relations between South Africa and Lesotho should continue to thrive.
“Cooperation between our two countries continues to grow from strength to strength as characterised by high level visits by the leaders of both countries,” Maloi said. Maloi said during a visit to Lesotho in October last year Prime Minister Tom Thabane and President Jacob Zuma reviewed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

“On bilateral issues, the two leaders underscored the need to enhance and strengthen further the existing bilateral cooperation between the two countries under the framework of the Joint Bilateral Commission of Cooperation (JBCC),” he said. He said Zuma and Thabane instructed that the JBCC be resuscitated for a further period of five years. The two countries have since agreed to accelerate cooperation in freedom of movement in people, goods and services, tourism, energy, phase two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, extradition treaties and defence and security among others, Maloi said.

He added that the South African government also promptly responded to an appeal of humanitarian assistance by the Lesotho government in the wake of food crisis. “The donation of R180 million by the government of the Republic of South Africa is indeed, an act of solidarity and good neighbourliness,” he said.

He further said Lesotho was saddened by the deaths of 13 South African troops that were killed in the Central African Republic where they were deployed for peace-keeping purposes. “Our hearts and prayers are with members of the bereaved families. We believe however, that this will not, in any way, deter South Afrca from performing acts which ensure humanity’s emancipation and freedoms.”

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