Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation of the Southern African Development Community, has dispatched his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa to Lesotho amid growing concerns at the deteriorating situation in that country.
Zuma had already sent a ministerial fact-finding mission headed by South African defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her Zimbabwean and Namibian counterparts to assess the situation in Lesotho.
Lesotho’s opposition parties told the fact-finding mission that Lesotho’s controversial army commander Tlali Kamoli must go if peace and stability are to return to the country.
The delegation met deputy leaders of the three opposition parties because the leaders have all fled to South Africa, fearing for their lives and it comes in the wake of the killing of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao by soldiers of the Lesotho Defence Force last Thursday.
In a statement issued late on Monday night, the SADC said: “After receiving the report of the Fact Finding Mission, President Zuma has become more concerned about the apparent explosive security situation in Lesotho. In this regard, President Zuma has decided to urgently dispatch Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the SADC Facilitator on Lesotho, to consult with Right Honourable Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
Zuma condemned the killing of Brigadier Mahao who was killed on June 25, 2015 outside of Maseru.
“This unfortunate and tragic incident threatens to undermine the Kingdom’s efforts towards the peaceful transition following the February 2015 elections,” he said.
“President Zuma has reiterated the need for all stakeholders in the Kingdom of Lesotho to resolve their political differences through legal and peaceful processes and further reiterated the pressing need to expedite the process of establishing institutional and security reforms, as recommended by the SADC Double Troika Summit held in Pretoria on February 20, 2015.”