Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

We must first put our house in order

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.
She said it was important to have citizens of both countries documented so that they can be easily identifiable.
“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.”
By those words Pandor threw back the matter into Lesotho’s court.
Although using diplomatic language, Pandor is merely saying Lesotho must put its house in order.
It is incumbent upon Lesotho to ensure that its citizens are properly documented. We know that Lesotho has already started working on introducing Identity Documents (IDs) but we believe the process is taking too long.
The Home Affairs Ministry has said it plans to issue the first ID on July 3.
That is encouraging but we are already seeing signs that this self-imposed deadline might be missed.
The publicity campaign for that process is yet to start. Two days before the proposed launch very few people know about the issue.
There is a danger that when the rollout starts it will be messy.
The issues that Pandor talked about at the press conference are nothing new.
South Africa has always insisted that Lesotho puts its house in order if it wants help.
But time and again Lesotho has dithered, with disastrous results.
We recall that months before the 2010 World Cup South Africa warned Lesotho that it would not accept Temporary Travel documents. Despite those advance warnings Lesotho sat on its laurels, resulting in the chaos that we witnessed at the borders.
Now Pandor is saying Lesotho must work on its ID system if its wants its citizens to be assisted in South Africa.
But as has always been the case Lesotho seems to be taking its “sweet” time to launch the system.
The reality is that for Lesotho to get help from South Africa it must first deal with its own internal issues.
South Africa as a sovereign country has its own national interests.
It wants to secure its borders against illegal immigrants and other undesirable elements. It wants to protect its economy and national security.
Those national interests invariably determine South Africa’s dealings with its neighbours.
South Africa will not change that policy to suit Lesotho.
To have leverage in the negotiations on and concessions on the immigration issue Lesotho must put its house in order.
Its passport system must be strong enough to weed out foreigners who abuse our passports.
Lesotho must secure its borders against people who use it as a corridor to get into South Africa.
Her ID system must be launched quickly but it must be credible.
Her borders too must be secure.
Only after those things have been sorted can Lesotho try to get some concessions from South Africa.
The immigration issue has dominated relations between the two countries for too long. It’s time to sort it out once and for all so that we move on to other productive issues of mutual benefit.

Comments are closed.