In a bid to avoid a diplomatic row, South African officials have apologised to the monarch of Lesotho, King Letsie III, after complaints that he was mistreated at the border between the two countries, IOL News reports.
According to SABC News, the king’s vehicles had been searched while he was held for an hour at the border. This comes in the midst of complaints on social media about delays at the border.
Reports from SABC say border officials have often slowed down the process of crossing, with passports of Lesotho travellers being destroyed in the process.
South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has said that she would personally travel to Lesotho to apologise to the king, as there are reports that Basotho may close the border crossing with protests.
“I’ve just had a meeting now with the foreign minister of Lesotho. As you know, we are experiencing problems at the border. The king of Lesotho is extremely aggrieved by the way he was treated at the border. I have expressed to him my sincerest apologies for this,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“I have indicated to him that I will personally go to Lesotho to apologise to the king for any mistreatment he might have encountered at our border,” she was quoted by IOL News.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Foreign Minister, Ndivhuwo Mabaya has been sharing information on how the border operates.
“There are dedicated lines for South African and Lesotho citizens. The Lesotho line is always long and the South African line is always short or sometimes empty,” Mr Mabaya was quoted by news site Times Live.
“The Basotho people feel they are not being fairly treated. There are also issues about how long it takes for them to get passports and permits.”
He added that home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday travelled to Lesotho to meet with the King to address those issues.