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Minister pledges to help Basotho living in S Africa

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor on Friday said Pretoria is determined to improve the living conditions of thousands of Basotho working and living in that country.
Pandor told a press conference that the two governments were aware of the plight of Basotho nationals living in South Africa.
She said it was important therefore to have citizens of both countries documented so that they can be easily identifiable.
“We would like all citizens to be registered in both countries.
We must join the rest of the continent to have proper national registers,” Pandor said.
“This is why trafficking is rife; because we do not have proper documentation of our population.”
She said that documenting Basotho would ease movement within borders of the two countries as well as for entrepreneurs as they do business.
She added that there was a plan to have a Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) visa to ease movement within African countries.
She applauded the Lesotho government for introducing identity documents and new electronic passports.
“We are prepared to make a mechanism to ensure that Basotho come to South Africa legally and are able to exercise their rights,” she added.
Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo said the government was concerned about the security of Basotho in South Africa.
Molapo said they were aware of how Basotho nationals are exploited by South African employers because they do not have proper documents.
“Lesotho has always had a one-on-one relationship with South Africa,” Molapo said, adding that it was important for people to register so that they could be easily identified.
He said proper registration will also help spot those who have fraudulently acquired Lesotho passports and went on to commit crimes like human trafficking.
“Such people can be arrested. We will not allow people to use our country as a transit point for committing crimes,” he said.
He said the facility that will be used to produce passports was ready and work will start soon.

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