President Jacob Zuma arrives in the Kingdom of Lesotho for a State Visit

Maseru – H.E. Jacob. G. Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa has this morning arrived in the Kingdom of Lesotho for a state visit scheduled for 12 – 13 August 2010.

The overall strategic objective of the visit is to pursue the consolidation of the African Agenda which aims to further strengthen the bilateral political, economic and social relations between South Africa and Lesotho. The State Visit takes place after the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC) between the two countries which was held in Maseru in April 2010. The Senior Officials Meeting reviewed progress on the implementation of identified bilateral projects between the two countries.

The Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC) was originally signed in April 2001 where upon the two countries agreed on a strategic partnership that would assist Lesotho to graduate from its least developed country status to that of a developing country. In addition, the JBCC seeks to promote political, economic and social cooperation between the two countries.

During the visit President Zuma will have bilateral engagement with the Prime Minister of Lesotho, H.E. Phakalitha Mosisili – before hosting President Zuma to a state banquet this evening. President Zuma will also hold official talks with His Majesty King Letsie III. The President has also been invited to address the Joint Sitting of Parliament where he will highlight strategic issues of mutual interest to both Lesotho and South Africa.

Accordingly, President Zuma is expected to officially open South Africa’s newly-built Chancery and diplomatic village in Maseru.

President will also oversee the signing of a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation between South Africa and Lesotho.

The two states are also members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) therefore signatories to all resolutions taken by SADC, in particular, the implementation of  the SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications & Meteorology.

South Africa continues to support the SADC facilitation process to help the Basotho nation to find a political solution to their problems.

The economies of South Africa and Lesotho are interdependent. Lesotho provides a strategic resource to South Africa – and that is labour and skills. It has 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.

President Zuma is accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Max Sisulu; Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Jeff Radebe; Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica; Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk; Minister of Public Works, Mr Geoff Doidge; Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies; Minister of Transport, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele; and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba.

In addition to his cabinet ministers, President Zuma is also accompanied by a large contingent of South African business which will launch a South Africa-Lesotho Business Forum – the launch which will be witnessed by both President Zuma and Prime Minister Mosisili. The business forum will provide an excellent networking and information-sharing opportunity for business with the overall objective of forging partnerships between business leaders and entrepreneurs from both countries. Targeted sectors include hospitality industry, construction, banking, food and beverages, retail and mining.

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy Mr Saul K. Molobi on +27 82 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or email him at
Alternatively, please call President’s Special Advisor on Communications, Mr Zizi Kodwa, on +27 82 330 4910.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
Private Bag X152

12 August 2010






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