President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Lesotho counterpart Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said unless the movement of people between the two countries was controlled, finding an adequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing economic trade would be a challenge.
The two met in Pretoria earlier on Friday and tasked their ministers to make this a priority.
President Ramaphosa has been Southern African Development Community (Sadc) facilitator for Lesotho since 2014.
And while stability in the kingdom had preoccupied him, relations between the two countries took centre stage on Friday.
“…that touch on the movement of people between South Africa and Lesotho how we can find ways of supporting each country’s economy – particularly in relation to post COVID-19 – and also deal with issues of cross-border crimes [and] issues of human trafficking.”
Prime Minister Majoro recognised the role that South Africa has played in Lesotho’s stability. But, he too wanted movement between the two countries to be taken care of.
“While we have official borders, our people don’t always recognise those, and so they cross at any place that they want to cross and this has a bearing on our ability to control infection. There are many issues touching on trade between the two countries.”
Nearly a quarter of the population of Lesotho live, work and study in South Africa and many are undocumented.