Last week’s attempted coup in the land-locked and mountainous Lesotho has reignited talk that this poverty-stricken country be incorporated into South Africa.
Frans Baleni, the secretary general of the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), on Wednesday said sombre talks about Lesotho becoming part of the bigger South Africa should be kick-started.
“The developments in Lesotho are of concern,” Fin24 quoted Baleni as saying. He reportedly told a press conference in Johannesburg that a large number of NUM supporters had urged the union to call on the government to return the country to stability.
Most the members that have been calling for this action are those that come from Lesotho.
South Africa’s apartheid governments had allowed mining companies to recruit cheap labour from Lesotho and other poor neighbours of Africa’s most advanced economy.
The move to incorporate Lesotho into South Africa could have a lot of benefits for Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa.
Though the South African government is not doing well in terms of job creation and providing proper health and other services to its citizens, it nevertheless does try to do something and this could help Lesotho.
In addition, by virtue of being part of the Southern Africa’s Customs Union (SACU), Lesotho and other countries neighbouring countries get paid 1 percent of South Africa’s annual budget. This is surely not enough to help these countries.
On Wednesday, rival Lesotho leaders reportedly agreed to resolve an 11-day crisis which has seen many people call for regional military intervention in the tiny African nation.
Trouble started when Lesotho military commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli attempted an early morning coup on August 30, a day after he was fired by Tom Thabane, the prime minister of Lesotho.
Kamoli attempted to abduct Thabane but was not successful. This was followed by an attack on a number of police stations in Lesotho. Thabane fled to South Africa in the aftermath.
The general has rebuffed calls for him to hand himself over to the government. Last week Kamoli led a group of army rebels in pillaging an armoury. It is claimed that he has hid himself in military barracks outside the capital, Maseru.