SA apologises for Lesotho border mishap

Sunday, April 8, 2018

South Africa has conveyed its apology to the King Letsie III of Lesotho following his recent treatment at the Maseru Bridge border post.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, paid a courtesy call on King Letsie III on Friday to discuss, among other things, the challenges at Maseru Bridge, a border between South Africa and Lesotho.

“We have come here to convey our apology to His Majesty the King, the Lesotho Prime Minister and to the entire Basotho nation for the inconvenience caused and also to explain to the King what we intend and are committed to do. We are happy that our apology has been accepted,” said Minister Sisulu.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the Minister received a briefing from her counterpart, Minister Lesego Makgothi, on the margins of the recently held Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers meeting. The Minister was briefed about the unfortunate and regrettable incident at the border, in which King Letsie was affected.

In her response to Minister Makgothi, Minister Sisulu undertook to travel to Lesotho to personally convey an apology to the King for the inconvenience caused. 

At Friday’s meeting Minister Sisulu conveyed the message that the South African government is working on increasing capacity at the border post and also finding a permanent solution geared to managing the travel movements of the King and eminent persons travelling between South Africa and Lesotho. This will also positively affect frequent travellers between the two countries.

Minister Sisulu said Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will assist to address the issue.

“The Minister of Home Affairs will not be alone in solving these challenges. We are all, including the Free State provincial government, fully committed to urgently attend to matters of migration between the two countries. The Basotho did not discriminate against us during our struggle for freedom, we are effectively one people,” she said.

Minister Sisulu also paid a courtesy call on Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane, who conveyed his condolences on behalf of the Lesotho government to the people of South Africa as they mourn the loss of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Prior to a meeting with the King, Minister Sisulu visited Home Affairs officials at the Maseru Bridge to receive a briefing on the operations at the border. She also used the opportunity to interact with travellers.

The Minister was accompanied on her trip by the Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, South African High Commissioner to Lesotho Ambassador Sello Moloto, Free State MEC for Health Butana Komphela, MEC for Sports and Recreation Mathabi Leeto and MEC for Public Works Dora Kotze. - SAnews.gov.za

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