Chaos at borders

Chaos at borders

MASERU-THERE was chaos at the Maseru border gate yesterday after some Basotho wanted to cross into South Africa.
South Africa opened its land borders between Lesotho on Monday.
The six border posts that have now been reopened are Maseru, Ficksburg, Van Rooyen’s Gate, Sani Pass, Qacha’s Nek and Caledonspoort.

However, Lesotho has still not opened up its borders following the imposition of a strict lockdown in January to stem the spread of Covid-19.
This has now triggered chaos between the two countries.
Students who attend school in Ladybrand could not cross into South Africa since Lesotho has still not opened its borders.
One Mosotho student was assaulted by a Lesotho police officer when he was trying to cross the border.

A video clip making rounds in Maseru showed many people rebuking the cop for violence, saying the boy just wanted to cross the border to attend school and did not deserve to be assaulted.
For the past month, travel into and out of South Africa through these border posts were limited to only a number of reasons – including the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods as well as emergency medical treatment.

Minister of Home Affairs Motlalentoa Letsosa said Lesotho had not opened its borders because it is still under the orange colour which restricts movement between the countries.
He said they are yet to consult with experts on how they could handle the border issue since South Africa which is their closest neighbour has opened its borders.
“We rely heavily on the Ministry of Health for advice to open the borders,” Letsosa said.

“It is the ministry that would advise because we are very much concerned about the health of our people,” he said.
He said if South Africa has opened its borders, that did not mean they have to open theirs as well.
South Africa opened its schools on Monday.
Students who commute to Ladybrand every week-day were blocked from crossing the border.

As the students attempted to force their way into South Africa this week, they were blocked by the police at the border.
That resulted in a commotion that later simmered down.
The Ministry appealed to parents whose students attend school in Ladybrand to exercise patience.

Letsosa said they will only allow students from Lesotho who stay in boarding schools and hostels to cross the border.
He said they do not allow commuting students.
For those people who have business to do in South Africa, Letsosa said they should adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
He said those intending to cross the border must have a valid Covid-19 certificate before entering South Africa.

He said the testing services would be offered at the borders for those who might not have the certificates.
At the time of going to print last night, he was not sure how much the testing would cost at the border.

Letsosa warned that fake certificates would not be allowed at the border.
In a statement this week, South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said any person presenting themselves at any of the borders with fake Covid-19 certificates will be denied entry and barred from visiting South Africa for a period of at least five years.
He said the reopening plan includes a crackdown on fake Covid-19 test certificates.

Staff Reporter

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