In a stubborn pursuit to end cross border crimes that threaten the safety of the inhabitants of both countries and their property Police Minister, General Bheki Cele led a high level delegation of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to Maseru in Lesotho for bilateral security discussions.
The two day meeting which commenced on 2 March 2023, comes off the back of an initial meeting that took place in Pretoria, on 2 February 2023.
In that meeting, Minister Cele and the SAPS management team led by National Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, openly engaged the Lesotho Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police; Minister Lebona Lephema and his delegation, on matters related to the multiplicity of cross border crimes.
Minister Lephema commended South Africa’s willingness to enhance working relations, between Lesotho and its only neighbouring country.
“The cornerstone of our deliberations is to use what we have achieved in the past and work on what must be fine-tuned to better combat crime in our countries’ borders and within. It is clear that an effective emigration system is key in the fight against cross border crimes. Our deliberations have concluded to put in place a permit regime to close any loopholes that exist in the buying and selling of stock to limit stock theft.” added Minister Lephema.
The safe, orderly and humane movement of persons between Lesotho and South Africa, remained high on the agenda.
Guided by previous bilateral agreements and obligations, the Maseru talks attended by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzunza, tackled issues ranging from the establishment of the Boarder Management Authority (BMA) and immigration related matters. Meanwhile other cross cutting issues included illegal mining, stock and car theft, human trafficking and the smuggling of persons, illicit goods and firearms between the two countries.
As a strategy to prevent some of the cross border crimes, both countries have agreed to intensify information sharing and coordination between law enforcement agencies, to identify shared threats, whilst developing a database on Persons of Interest.
“We remain stubborn in our pursuit of safety and justice beyond our borders and remain resolute that criminals will not run amok between Lesotho and South Africa, without any repercussions. This is why we have agreed to conduct joint policing operations that allow for better crime detection and infiltration of criminal gangs in pursuit of justice. This will amongst other things, include the development of an intelligence sharing agreement and establish intelligence sharing platforms, between South Africa and Lesotho.”
The closure of the Maseru Safety and Emigration discussions, Minister Cele and his Lesotho counterpart Minister Lephema signed agreements reached during the two day meeting. The agreements will be incorporated into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which will then be signed at a Ministerial level and later endorsed at a Presidential level by the respective Heads of state.