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SA apologises for border delays

by Sunday Express
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Bereng Mpaki

THE South African High Commission in Maseru has apologised to travelers over recent delays on the South African side of the Maseru Bridge border post, saying it is working towards resolving them.

In the days leading up to Lesotho’s independence holiday on 4 October last week, there was congestion at Maseru Bridge with many people spending several hours in queues awaiting immigration clearance.

The delay is believed to have been partly caused by under-staffing of the South African immigration office and to a lesser extent, the introduction of a biometric capturing system.

South Africa believes that the biometric system will help reduce cases of travelers using fake or stolen identification documents.

Part of a statement issued by the embassy reads: “The South African High Commission in Maseru would like to state its regret about the delays being experienced at the Maseru Bridge Border Post”.

“The High Commission is aware of the inconvenience and economic impact suffered by all due to the persistent challenges at this port.

“The South African High Commission in consultation with the Border Management and relevant South African government departments is working tirelessly to ensure the situation is resolved as a matter of urgency in line with our government’s principles of Batho Pele (people first).”

Meanwhile, Lesotho’s Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Machesetsa Mofomobe, said the two countries were in talks to resolve the issue.

“It is clear there is problem on their side and we have engaged them to see how this problem can be addressed speedily. They are holding a stakeholder meeting today (Saturday) to discuss the issue which has also affected trade between the two countries.

“We have sent our representatives to that meeting and we await feedback. However, one of the issues my South African counterpart (Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize) alluded to as being a big problem for their immigration was lack of personnel during our recent communication,” Mr Mofomobe yesterday told the Sunday Express.

He said the two responsible ministers for immigration for both countries were expected to meet over the issue within the next two weeks.



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