South Africa and Lesotho launched a bi-national commission on Wednesday, September 28, 2023, to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.
The commission was launched by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Lesotho Prime Minister Sam Matekane during a meeting in Pretoria.
In his remarks, Ramaphosa said that South Africa attaches great importance to its relations with Lesotho, which are anchored in historic bonds of language, culture, and heritage.
He also said that the elevation of the Joint Bilateral Commission of Cooperation between South Africa and Lesotho to a bi-national commission is a testament to the unwavering commitment by the two countries to further bolster their relations for mutual benefit.
Ramaphosa said that South Africa highly appreciates the cooperation on water resources between the two countries and welcomed Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project as a vital development to enhance water security in South Africa.
He also said that South Africa is keen to work with Lesotho on the four proposed renewable energy projects and that the two countries need to make significant investments to ensure water and energy security for their people in the future.
Ramaphosa welcomed the commitment of the government of Lesotho to cooperate with South Africa to deal with the challenges of illegal mining in their countries. He said that such activity carries a great social and economic cost for both countries.
He also welcomed the commitment made by Matekane to prioritize the implementation and completion of the comprehensive national reform process in Lesotho.
Ramaphosa said that South Africa will continue to support the SADC Panel of Elders and Mediation Reference Group initiative in assisting Basotho to complete the National Reform Process.
In his remarks, Matekane said that the launch of the Bi-National Commission is a sign of the strong bond between South Africa and Lesotho.
He said that Lesotho is committed to working with South Africa to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation in all areas, including trade, investment, water, energy, and security.
Matekane also said that Lesotho is grateful for South Africa’s support for the National Reform Process, and that the government is committed to implementing the reforms.