President Jacob Zuma to undertake a state visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho on 12 – 13 August 2010


H.E Jacob. G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, will undertake a State Visit to Lesotho scheduled for 12 – 13 August 2010.

The State Visit takes place within the context of consolidating the African agenda with the aim of further cementing the historic relations that exist between the Kingdom of Lesotho and South Africa. The two countries have enjoyed good political relations since 1994 when the bilateral diplomatic relations were normalised. Lesotho’s longstanding support for the liberation struggle in South Africa has led to the establishment of a deep and strong mutual bond between the peoples of the two countries.

During the visit, the two Heads of State are expected to engage on issues related to:

  • Bilateral cooperation and also on region and multilateral matters including sharing and exchanging views on political development in the region
  • On the International Political Agenda, the Principals are expected to cover strategic issues such as the agenda of the African Union and reform of the multilateral institutions such as the United Nations Security Council
  • Economic relations between the two countries.

During the visit it is expected that at least one bilateral agreement will be signed during the state visit – namely, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Economic Cooperation.
The State Visit will also provide an opportunity to engage on issues of mutual interest. Also under discussion will be the finalisation of the Agreement on Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is regarded as Africa’s largest ever transfer project as well as the largest ongoing bi-national construction project on the continent. The project benefits both countries in a number of ways. It delivers about 780 million cubic metres of water to South Africa per annum and has created a huge number of employments to locals.

In this regard, other important projects that South Africa is involved in are the construction of the Metolong Dam and the Sani-Pass road. South Africa has already contributed R100 million to Lesotho towards the construction of these projects to demonstrate the importance which South Africa attaches to assisting Lesotho in its economic development.

Economic Relations

Lesotho almost relies on South Africa for its economic development with more than 30% of its economically active population employed in South African mines; approximately 50% of the income of the rural households of Lesotho comes from family members employed in South Africa, constituting approximately 30% of the country’s per capita GNP.

The most significant and visible beacon reflecting South Africa’s bilateral relation with Lesotho is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). The project was started as a joint venture with the main objective to provide water to South Africa, especially the rapidly growing urban population and industrial development in Gauteng and to meet Lesotho’s electricity needs. The Project delivers about 780 million cubic metres of water to South Africa per annum.

Also during the visit President Zuma will address joint sitting of the Lesotho Parliament and will visit the Katse dam which provides the significant volume of water to South Africa.

President Zuma will be accompanied by several Government Ministers and a business delegation which will be participating in a two-day business workshop, focusing on such sectors as hospitalit, construction, banking, food and beverages, retail and mining.

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on +27 82 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or email him on molobisk@dirco.gov.za.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
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08 August 2010

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