SANDF delegation visits Lesotho to discuss security issues


A delegation from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) arrived in Lesotho on Monday to discuss the apprehension and detention of two South African soldiers last week.

The two soldiers were arrested along with two border officials who were working at the border gate in Maseru.

Lesotho’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mats’epo Ramakoae said the facilitation of talks was initiated by the South African High Commission in Maseru.

The two SANDF soldiers and the two officials were detained for entering Lesotho without proper documents and for breaching the country’s lockdown regulations.

The quartet were released with a bail of M1000 each and a surety of M5000 (R1 000 and R5 000 respectively). They are expected to appear before the court this Thursday for remand.

The South African High Commission in Maseru said they would ensure that those officials adhere to the bail conditions.

Ramakoae said Lesotho and South Africa are close neighbours and have long standing bilateral ties.

The delegation held a closed meeting with Lesotho Ministry of Defence representatives.

But the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Mabohloko Monyane said it is too early to disclose to the media what was being discussed because security issues are very critical.

“We will share with you what was discussed when the time is ripe to do so,” Monyane said.

Meanwhile, two Lesotho soldiers who were detained in Matatiele, South Africa, last month by South African soldiers are expected to appear in court this Thursday to apply for bail. They were arrested for alleged stock theft while they claim they were pursuing stock thieves from Lesotho when they crossed the border.

They are facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, illegal crossing into South Africa and illegal possession of ammunition, stock theft and armed robbery.

Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu last week announced that he would lead a delegation to South Africa to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa over the arrests of the two Lesotho Defence Force soldiers in the country as well as the arrest of SANDF soldiers and border officials in Lesotho.