Press Release

30 August 2014

Media statement on the security situation in Lesotho

The South African Government notes with great concern the unfolding security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho where the Lesotho Defence Force has taken over several key installations in the country.

The South African Government has verified that the Lesotho Defence Force did take over the radio and TV stations, resulting in a total black out in broadcast. The Army has also taken over several police stations including the Police Headquarters.

These activities of the Lesotho Defence Force have worryingly forced the constitutionally elected Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Dr Tom Thabane and one of the leaders in the Coalition Government, Hon Thesile Maseribane to go in hiding.

Although no one has claimed to have taken over government through the use of force, by all accounts the activities of the Lesotho Defence Force thus far bear the hallmarks of a coup d’état. In this regard, South African Government, consistent with the African Union position on unconstitutional change of government, wishes to reaffirm the AU position and warn that such unconstitutional change of government shall not be tolerated.

The South African Government further calls on the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force to order the Army to return to their barracks and allow the democratically elected Government of the Kingdom to carry on with its business.

The South African Government is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to consult with SADC countries and the AU Commission.

Further, the South African Government encourages the leaders of the Coalition Government to work together and implement the Namibia Declaration which was presented at the recent Victoria Falls SADC Summit. In this regard, South Africa in her capacity as the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security remain committed to assisting the leaders of the Coalition Government to find a lasting political solution to their current challenges.

For more information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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