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Majoro, Ramaphosa call for cooperation to revive economies

’Marafaele Mohloboli

LESOTHO’S Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, have called for a shared vision and common strategy between the two countries to revive their respective economies in the aftermath of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The two leaders made the joint call at a press conference at the Mahlamba Ndlopfu presidential guesthouse in Pretoria at the end of Dr Majoro’s visit on Friday.

This was Dr Majoro’s first visit to South Africa after he took over from former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on 20 May 2020. He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu.
Dr Majoro said Lesotho and South Africa were inter-linked by geographical and economic ties, adding that events in one country were bound to have an impact on the other.

He alluded to the need to achieve lasting stability in Lesotho by ensuring the implementation of the constitutional, security sector, judicial, media and governance reforms recommended by SADC in 2016.

“Both countries have a unique geographical situation, with Lesotho fully beating as a heart inside South Africa. It isn’t always a healthy heart and we can see blood running to the face of South Africa whenever we have issues,” Dr Majoro said.

“But uppermost in our minds, is that relations between Lesotho and South Africa must at all times be warm.”

He said the new coalition led by his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party and the Democratic Congress (DC) had been welcomed by most Basotho and it had to immediately get down to stabilising the country and providing services to the nation. He also said unity within the ABC was needed for the party to play its role of stabilising the country and delivering services to the people.

“The people of Lesotho have welcomed our government with open hands and would for the remaining two years (of the government’s tenure) want to see us focusing on service delivery. We need to stop quibbling and I want to call on everyone in Lesotho to work for political stability.

“My message to my party is that it is through unity that we will be able to deliver the services that Basotho have been denied for so many years. Let us proceed carefully and gradually begin to deal with our issues in a productive manner. I can assure you that I am talking with members of my party and it is in achieving stability in the ABC that we will achieve stability in Lesotho,” Dr Majoro said.

Mr Ramaphosa expressed his delight over Dr Majoro’s visit and welcomed the latter’s commitment to achieving stability.

“This visit marks a very important milestone — the beginning of improving and deepening relations between South Africa and Lesotho at all levels that touch on the movement between South Africa and Lesotho and how we should find ways to support each other’s economy, particularly in relation to post COVID-19.

“We’re also delighted to hear that stability has returned to Lesotho and that there’s a renewed commitment to embark on the reforms that we, as South Africa, have been a facilitator in,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

He said it was important for the two countries to jointly work towards the recovery of their economies and deepen economic integration. He said international financial institutions like the World Bank are predicting that both Lesotho and South Africa’s economies are going to shrink significantly due to the effects of Covid-19.

“Clearly, Covid-19 is having quite a negative impact on many economies around the world and we are also going to be adversely affected, both Lesotho and South Africa.

“Therefore, it calls on us to come up with a clear vision, clear strategies of how we’re going to address our badly affected economy, in our case, which we share with Lesotho,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

He also said they were also looking at tackling the critical issues faced by the two nations such as fighting cross border crimes and human trafficking.

“We’ll get our ministers to begin the process of dealing with all these matters to prepare for a more formalised meeting between our two governments,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

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