Sisulu apologises to Lesotho King Letsie III over border drama

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King Letsie III (File: AFP)
King Letsie III (File: AFP)

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has paid a courtesy call to the King of Lesotho, His Majesty King Letsie III to discuss, among other things, the challenges at the Maseru Bridge, a border between South Africa and Lesotho.

According to reports, senior government officials who included Sisulu and home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba had to intervene last month to quell a diplomatic spat with the neighbouring Kingdom after King Letsie III was "mistreated" at the border gate. 

In a statement on Friday, the minister personally apologised to the King for what Dirco described as an "unfortunate and regrettable incident" at the two sister countries border in March.  

In her meeting with His Majesty the King, the minister of international relations conveyed the message that the government was working on increasing capacity at the border post.

She said that the government was also working towards finding a permanent solution which was aimed at making travel movements of the King and people travelling between the two countries less complicated. 

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"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 Sisulu.

Sisulu's apology to the mountainous kingdom monarch comes less than a week after another high level South African team visited the border gate following the dispute.

According to SABC, the home affairs minister was in Lesotho before Easter, meeting his Lesotho counterpart to find a lasting solution to the border crisis.

"Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Gigaba will not be alone in solving these challenges. We are all including the Free State 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", added Sisulu.

Sisulu has also paid a courtesy call to 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 struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

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