Reprieve for Basotho travellers

Reprieve for Basotho travellers

MASERU – BASOTHO travelling to South Africa will no longer have their passports stamped at border posts, in a move introduced to ease congestion and facilitate smooth travel.
This was announced on Tuesday at a meeting between Home Affairs Minister Tsukutlane Au and his South African counterpart, Malusi Gigaba at the Maseru Border Gate. The move is effective from November.

Passports will just be scanned before a traveller is allowed to cross the boundary, said Gigaba.
He said this will allow for free and easy movement at ports of entry to eliminate congestion which is usually heavy during peak periods such as Easter and Christmas holidays. Basotho are some of the most frequent travellers to South Africa.

“Due to frequent movement, people are obliged to renew passports from time to time because their passports get finished quickly when being stamped,” Gigaba said, noting the new system will rid of this inconvenience. Gigaba said this was one of several interventions agreed by the two countries to ease movement of goods and people between Lesotho and South Africa.
Au said service counters will be increased to eradicate delays at ports of entry. He said the new system, which includes biometric data services, will help weed out illegal activities such as corruption.

Vendors and non-travellers will be cleared from the border perimeters to reduce crime and inconveniences to travellers, said Au.
The two countries will continuously monitor the effectiveness of the new system, said Gigaba.
“Project teams of both countries will provide reports every month to the government officials pertaining to the daily proceedings at the border gate and evaluate the implementation of the plan,” Gigaba said.

High level meetings will be held twice a year to share ideas and monitor progress, he said.
Meanwhile, Gigaba has raised concern over the congestion of trucks entering Lesotho, especially during peak periods.
He said the infrastructure may fail to cope with the volumes.

Tokase Mphutlane

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