SADC Facilitator Ramaphosa Heads To Troubled Lesotho

Riyaz Patel

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to travel to Lesotho Thursday 4 July to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.

Wider African matters as well as international developments are also expected to feature on the agenda.

In his capacity as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Facilitator to Lesotho, he will also be briefed on the progress of the reform process in the Kingdom.

The president’s visit comes a week after Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane was suspended by the national executive of his party All Basotho Convention (ABC).

That battle for control of the governing party has seen chiefs of the army, police and intelligence warning the factions against deploying illegal militias after armed men in balaclavas stormed the party offices in the capital Maseru.

Ramaphosa, then Deputy President, was appointed the SADC facilitator to Lesotho in 2014. After assuming the presidency in 2018, Ramaphosa appointed former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to lead the SADC Facilitation Team to Lesotho.

He is due to present a report on the facilitation process to the SADC Heads of State in Tanzania next month where regional leaders will assess progress in constitutional and security reforms in Lesotho.

Presidential spokesperson Kusela Diko said trade and investment, security, energy, transport, agriculture, tourism, water as well as the environment, will be on the agenda during talks between Ramaphosa and Thabane.

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Bilateral relations between Pretoria and Maseru are conducted through the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC) which was established in 2001, and convened at a ministerial Level.

The President will be accompanied by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Minister of State Security, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, and the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini.

Ramaphosa will also pay a courtesy call on His Majesty, King Letsie III, and engage with a broad range of civil society groupings during his working visit.

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