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New Lesotho ministers hoping to engage with SA to work on COVID-19 response

Lesotho Foreign Affairs Minister Matsepo Molise-Ramakoae said that the coronavirus presented an opportunity for a customised relationship for the two countries.

Motlatsi Maqelepo is sworn in as Lesotho's health minister on 21 May 2020. Picture: Supplied.

MASERU - Lesotho’s new ministers of foreign affairs and health said that their first assignment was to engage South Africa on COVID-19 collaboration

While the mountain kingdom has one confirmed case, its response has fallen short regarding critical communication.

Unauthorised travel between the two countries also remains a concern.

Nearly half a million Lesotho citizens go to South Africa as temporary and permanent residents to study, work and run small businesses and those who are undocumented are deported.

And recently, South Africans without work permits were repatriated from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

Lesotho Foreign Affairs Minister Matsepo Molise-Ramakoae said that the coronavirus presented an opportunity for a customised relationship for the two countries.

“Unless we collaborate with South Africa like we are dealing with it as family, you can’t even call it international. We have to do it for my brother and my sister, there is no way South Africa can be at level four and we are at level one. If South Africa opens schools, how do our children go back when they don’t know what we are doing to curb the disease?”

Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo is also not wasting time: “I will have to contact the minister of health in South Africa to forge partnerships.”

The two ministers were sworn-in on Thursday.