August 20, 2010

South Africa battles to police border

Lesotho has not taken up South Africa's offer to develop its population register, making it difficult for South Africa to effectively secure its borders, South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said. In June, South Africa banned travel certificates from neighbouring countries. Forty-one foreigners who entered South Africa through Lesotho were sitting in jail, having been arrested between June and July, she said.

Ms Nkoana-Mashabane further said along with the gesture to clean up Lesotho's population register at no cost, South Africa had also offered to help its neighbour with the production of passports. Ms Nkoana-Mashabane was at pains to dismiss what she said was a widespread belief in Lesotho that South Africa had imposed a blockade on the country. Broad consultations had been held until the ban on travel certificates was imposed. "This thing was not done out of the blue; it was done after thorough consultation," she said. Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said even during the struggle against apartheid, the underground movement always knew that the Lesotho border was the most accessible. (Business Day)

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