Home Affairs Minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele and Lesotho Home Affairs Minister Mr Tsukutlane Au today held a successful bilateral meeting on areas of mutual interest, for the benefit of the people of both countries. The meeting took place at the Maseru Bridge Port of Entry. The Ministers also conducted a walkabout to monitor port operations on both sides of the border.
The meeting considered the progress made in the implementation of the regular and safe movement of people of the two countries. Traveller movements between the two countries are happening frequently because of schooling, business and visits.
The meeting focused on the Intervention Plan on Traffic Congestion at Maseru Bridge Port of Entry. The interventions were implemented in earnest in December 2018 and these have proven to be successful.
Some of the successes include;
- The introduction of immigration processing by Lesotho authorities.
- Dedicated lanes for business travellers into Maseru and scholars into South Africa from 6-9am and 17:00 - 19:00 pm.
- Fast track LSP, Students and Mineworkers at dedicated counters during peak periods.
The areas of future cooperation include deepening the implementation of a Trusted Traveller System which enables qualifying categories of people to transit the port faster. The Ministers are considering extending the interventions to other ports of entry.
The meeting also considered the implementation of the Lesotho Special Dispensation Project (LSP), which is scheduled to expire at the end of December 2019. The LSP was introduced to manage the movement of certain categories of low skilled Basotho into South Africa.
The meeting initiated discussions on what will happen after the expiry of the LSP. Further engagements are scheduled over the coming months.
“Managing migration is one of the key ways in which we can contribute in growing South Africa. The cooperation with Lesotho is helping us to manage migration and helps our people transit through the port. The deepening cooperation with Lesotho will enable us to do more, and the greater implementation of the Trusted Traveller programme is our next target,” said Minister Cwele.
He said facilitating ease of travel for people and goods was very important for trade within the Southern Africa Development Community.
Minister Au welcomed the progress that is being made in addressing congestion at the port of entry and the deepening partnership between the two nations.
“Lesotho has a unique geographic position in relation to South Africa. This means that SA has to consider a unique dispensation for Lesotho,” said Minister Au.
The Ministers agreed to meet again within a period of six weeks.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.