On Tuesday January 10, 2012, I addressed a press conference in my office during which I briefed the media about Lesotho’s attendance of the ANC Centenary Celebrations and the joy of those celebrations considering the long-standing relations of cooperation between the peoples of Lesotho and South Africa.
In the Lesotho Times issue No. 41 Vol. 4 of January 12 – 18, 2012, I am quoted as having said in that press conference that the “ANC regime is worse than apartheid”.
First of all, I categorically deny that I ever used the phrase “ANC regime is worse than apartheid”.
If your assessment of whatever I said at the said press conference amounted to the opinion that the current ANC government is worse than the apartheid regime, I have no quarrel with that because that would be your opinion.
But to quote me as having said that ANC regime is worse than apartheid is clearly unfair and inconsistent with the truth and therefore brutally misleading. Secondly, it is not the policy of the Lesotho government to refer to the South African government, the legitimate government of a friendly country with which we have such extensive relations of cooperation as an “ANC regime”.
To do so would be highly derogatory, demeaning and outright irresponsible.
Thirdly, you gave an impression that I made an overall comparison between the current democratically elected government of South Africa and the former apartheid regime.
But you failed to underscore to your readership that any comparison that I ever made related only to the challenges that the people of Lesotho encounter at the borders between our two countries today, not a comparison of the overall relations between our two
countries, which remain extremely cordial and cooperative. And lastly, you will recall that in response to a question (at the press conference) that ministers are protected and do not feel the pain of the challenges at border posts, I refuted the allegation that even I as minister was ordered by an immigration officer at the Maseru Border Post, over the festive season and several times before, to
get out of my car and show my passport at the immigration desk.
This was only (meant) to show that as ministers we do not expect any special privileges other than the courtesies that are extended internationally to people of certain political status.
A wrong impression was created in the article that I considered taking out my passport at the border as harassment.
I should therefore be most grateful if you could put the record straight and correct the insinuations and impressions that may have been created by the article under reference.
Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa
Minister of Foreign Affairs
and International Relations