Press comments made by South African President Thabo Mbeki and
Prime Minister of Lesotho Pakalitha Mosisili Tuynhuys, Cape Town, Tuesday 19 June
President Thabo Mbeki
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of
Welcome Prime Minister. We are very glad indeed that you have
honoured us with your visit. This visit is long outstanding and I am very glad
indeed that you are here.
The Prime Minister is here to have a look at
the status of the bilateral relations between Lesotho and South Africa with a
particular focus on what we need to be doing that will be of mutual benefit to
both countries. One of the issues in this regard will be the facilitation of free
movement between the people of both countries. There is great movement between
the peoples of both countries on a daily basis and we need to ensure there are
no obstacles in this regard. I am saying that this is the kind of framework in
which we are operating so we have indeed agreed about a number of priorities on
which we will focus for instance the matter of tourism which is important and
therefore work has begun to improve the road across the Drakensburg - Maluti mountain
that links Lesotho to Durban and also impacts on the Maluti - Drakensburg Transfrontier
Park. This is part of the infrastructure on issues that relate to tourism.
must say that I found the discussion on what Lesotho will do to attract the support
of the 2010 Soccer World Cup very interesting in that Lesotho is proposing that
the training camp be set up in Lesotho. I am saying that the visit was intended
to look at all these matters on how we can improve our working together on addressing
the tourism challenge and what we do about these issues that relate to the movement
Indeed a major point in our relations is our heavy dependence
on Lesotho for our water and how we can co-operate on this matter.
had a wide range of discussions and I am quite sure Prime Minister that we can
now speed up the implementation on these issues.
But Prime Minister a very
Prime Minister Mosisili
Thank you very much Mr President.
It is an honour and one that I hesitate to describe as rare since it indicates
this is a singular opportunity when indeed this is how we envisage our relations
to ideally look - such regular consultations. It is very important for us to be
here. I would also like to indicate how pleased we are that these memoranda of
understanding have been signed.
These memoranda of understanding go towards
the integration of our programmes because like it was so aptly described by Foreign
Minister Dlamini Zuma this morning: not only is Lesotho landlocked, but it is
South Africa bound. It makes a lot of sense for us to do things together.
from Lesotho are very proud of the achievements that South Africa is making under
your visionary leadership, Mr President. We wish to take a leaf from your book.
I was a young man growing up and our political leaders were struggling against
the British, they had an expression: it is better to misgovern ourselves than
to be governed well by others. That was true then but it cannot be good for ourselves
today. We have to govern ourselves well. Part of the reason for these consultations
and memoranda of understanding is that they epitomise transparent, clearly articulated
programmes of operation, indeed programmes of good governance - you will recall
Mr President and members of the media that the flagship of Lesotho-South Africa
relations is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. One of its unique characteristics
has been zero tolerance of corruption and by jointly working together - that is
a bilateral project that we jointly own - we have not hesitated to say that no
one is above the law. If it was said that our officials were corrupt we responded
by saying it takes two to tango. For there to be corruption and for someone to
be corrupted, there had to be someone doing the corrupting - that is to say there
had to be a corrupter and corruptee. Indeed joint programmes need to be characterised
by good governance and clean practices. For this to happen, there has to be very
close design and implementation in many of the programmes.
because of this, we greatly appreciate the assistance rendered to Lesotho over
the years in our democratisation processes. We have recently held general elections
and there again, your assistance by way of providing helicopters to ferry election
material before the elections into the remote and hard to reach areas and then
to ferry them back to the headquarters of the constituencies was invaluable -
that is to say that I cannot attach a value to it, not that it was valueless,
just in case there are misunderstandings.
All of the memoranda of understanding
are very important but some are more equal than others so I am personally quite
excited about the memorandum of understanding between the Departments of Correctional
Services because our people live together and do good and bad things together
and we have to have a way of managing them properly and catering for their rehabilitation
The other one that I am quite excited about is the one regarding
free movement of people across our borders. I must emphasize that the borders
are very porous but this free movement of people speaks about legal border crossings.
We have to be very careful on how we implement this lest criminals derive more
benefit from it than law abiding citizens.
These are exciting times Mr President
for our governments and our people - I deliberately use the term people and not
peoples because of history, geography, social and cultural factors we are indeed
It will be in the implementation that the proof of the pudding
will be tested.
Questions and answers
Prime Minister Mosisili - I wanted to ask you about soccer - there is talk
that there is a conspiracy between South Africa and Lesotho against the Ugandans
and therefore their game was cancelled on Saturday?
The elections in February
were favourably commented on by almost all observers. But there seems to be discontent
among the opposition with regard to the allocation of seats according to the proportional
representation system. Do you feel this system is working or is there a problem?
Regarding the question of the soccer game: I am not very well informed. But I
understand that the Tanzanian officials had not obtained the necessary visas and/or
permits and hence they did not arrive in time to conduct the match on Saturday.
This is perhaps a wake up call for the SADC as a whole to say we are a community
- Southern African Development Community - and it high time that we integrated
in a way that this movement of our citizens can indeed be more easily facilitated
and in a way that the nation of one of the member states of the community is not
prevented from crossing the border into another country of the community for lack
of visas. It says we have to work very hard indeed to complete this process of
integration. This is how I wish to respond to this matter.
On the matter
of elections in Lesotho, you are quite right. Not only the elections in February
but also previous ones have been characterized as free and fair, just, transparent
but for some reason or other, the post-election period in Lesotho is now habitually
being characterized by disturbances so we thought we had closed this chapter with
the mixed member proportional system.
You are quite right in observing
there is some uneasiness, unhappiness about the way in which the proportional
representation seats were allocated. That is in fact a matter that has been taken
to the courts of Lesotho so the lawyers tell me this matter is sub judice.
There is an initiative by SADC to allow for the stakeholders to revisit the allocation
of the proportional seats by the IEC. To that extent, the former President of
Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire was in Maseru recently to facilitate dialogue over
some of the issues and indeed agreement has been reached on what else it to come
and to look at how the proportional seats were allocated.
I must be fair
to you and say the cause seems to have been the alliances that some parties formed
in preparation for the elections and so we will await the ruling of the courts
to say whether or not these alliances were legal or lawful.
Prime Minister Mosisili can you kindly give us an update of the curfew in
Maseru - why was it deemed necessary and for how long will it be in place? And
what is the general security situation in Maseru?
Answer Last Friday the Commissioner
of Police announced a curfew from 6pm to 6am.
This was precipitated by
the occurrence of a few unfortunate incidents in which the residences of Ministers
were attacked. Bodyguards of two Ministers at the gates of their residences were
attacked, their weapons and communication devices taken away.
incident involved the hijacking of a ministerial motor vehicle. The vehicle was
then commandeered to the residence of the particular minister to which easy access
was gained. Fortunately the Minister was not in this vehicle. The guns of the
security guards were then taken away and shots were fired into the residence.
These events happened under the cover of darkness.
The Commissioner of
Police thought it necessary to contain these acts of crime and imposed the 06pm-06am
curfew which has been in operation since Saturday.
When I talked to the
Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Prime Minister I was briefed that the Commissioner
of Police was reviewing the times of this curfew and would perhaps modify it to
8pm - 5am. This would allow for workers especially those working in the textile
factories and other economic activities to get to work early and reach home safely
in the evenings.
So, yes indeed a curfew was imposed in Maseru, precipitated
by these acts of violence.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
19 June 2007