Border security comes first: Mahlangu hits back

The South African High Commissioner, Happy Mahlangu, yesterday said Tsekoa should clarify what he meant by saying the situation is worse than the apartheid era.

Mahlangu said the tight border control is not meant to hurt Basotho and the South African government has nothing against Lesotho citizens.

He said the South African government is concerned that the Lesotho passport is being abused by non-Lesotho citizens who enter the republic to commit crimes.

“The situation at the border is meant to control such entries into South Africa and we really want to control people getting in and out of our country,” Mahlangu said.

“Even I myself present my passport at the border for scanning. It has to be like that if we want to ensure security at the borders.”

Mahlangu said long queues were exacerbated by the phasing out of the “foolscap that had only a picture” that was used by Basotho to cross to South Africa.

South Africa banned the use of the foolscap, which was commonly referred to as the temporary travel document, ahead of 2010 World Cup.

“We cannot allow entry into our country just like that. We need to have access to the Lesotho database of passport holders.”

He said the idea of free movement between the two countries came from South Africa.

“If Minister Tsekoa has said the situation is worse than during the apartheid he should direct that to the South African government and not to the media.”

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