SA not sending troops to Lesotho

Pretoria - The South African government was not immediately sending troops to Lesotho following claims that the neighbouring country had been taken over by the military, the department of international relations (Dirco) said on Saturday.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said diplomacy should be given a chance and the situation should be resolved through peaceful means.

He was speaking at a media briefing held at Dirco's offices in Pretoria.

The Lesotho soldiers had reportedly taken over the police headquarters, radio and television stations resulting in a blackout in broadcast.

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Monyela said government was concerned about the situation.

It called for the Lesotho defence force to restore order in the country.

"[We]... call on the commander of the Lesotho defence force to order the army to return to their barracks and allow the democratically elected government of the kingdom to carry on with its business," Monyela said.

"These activities of the Lesotho defence force have wrongly forced the constitutionally elected prime minister, the right honourable Dr Tom Thabane and the one of the leaders in the coalition government honourable Thesile Maseribane to go into hiding."

He would not confirm that Thabane had fled into South Africa.

No one had officially claimed taking over the Lesotho government.


Monyela said Southern African Development Community (SADC) was engaging with all the roleplayers.

He called for a dialogue to resolve the issues.

"Political problems need to be resolved through political channels which is actually dialogue," said Monyela.

He said all the South African officials in Lesotho were safe and accounted for.

Travel to Lesotho

However, Monyela urged people wishing to travel to Lesotho to "consider the situation".

"The SA government encourages the leaders of the coalition government to work together and implement the Namibia declaration which was presented at the recent Victoria falls SADC summit," said Monyela.

"In this regard, South Africa in her capacity as the chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security remain committed to assisting the leaders of the coalition government to find a lasting solution to their current challenges," he said.

Chris J Smit 2014/08/30 05:30:54 PM
Been working in Lesotho for 6 years and am sure that there will never ever be lasting peace in that country. Rather not send SANDF troops into Lesotho because it will lead to a second operation Boleas.
Abongile S. Ngozi 2014/08/30 05:32:01 PM
We all know what happened last time we sent troops into Lesotho. So we won't risk that again. LoL
Clemens 2014/08/30 05:35:55 PM
There's no coup accoring to another report. The military were stepping in to disarm the police who were being accused of arming a faction of the LCD (a coalition member and the former PM's ex-party) ahead of a demonstration on Monday. Maybe that is why the returned to their barracks. Very similar to what happened in 1994 and 1996/7 and no coup happened then.
Thabiso Kabelo Motalingoane 2014/08/30 05:36:54 PM
Chris which part of Lesotho are you talking about. . I don't believe you are being honest here. Its even peaceful than south Africa if that's where you are from.
Mthunzie Maphumulo 2014/08/30 05:43:21 PM
I say just send Troops to safe guard the boarders and leave them to see out their coup. SA now must not baby sit Lesotho n Swaziland. We can't waste our time with this because we will need them against eff rebels!
Shake Ahead 2014/08/30 05:45:37 PM
Is this the way the Zuma Guptas market the country? 2 days ago the Lesotho government announced with ZUMA influence that the Guptas Zuma would market the country.
proudlysa 2014/08/30 05:50:23 PM
Can we not put our "commander in chief" in the front line?? If you catch my drift....
Searcher SA 2014/08/30 05:51:29 PM
Did not know we had any troops to send anyhow ? Ai, where is the good old SADF when you need it !!
Barrie Naylor 2014/08/30 05:52:57 PM
What troops are we talking about anyway. Most are up in the DRC area protecting the interests of No 1 and family, incl the Guptas interests.
Reitumetse Tlopo Bobo 2014/08/30 05:56:24 PM
Im in Lesotho and one of the seized police stations,mabote S.O.U is ten mins frm my house.i thnk it was so reasnbl 4 SA nt to sent their troops cos we dnt wnt the repeat of 1998 bt ey u shld hv heard the gunshots in the early hrs of tdy