Concern over 'military build-up' in Lesotho

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International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the ANC's gala dinner on 10 January 2013 in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, to unveil its election manifesto.

CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s Minister of International Relations is concerned about increased military presence in Lesotho’s capital.

"We recently got reports that the situation was rather restive politically," said Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Nkoana-Mashabane told eNCA that the security cluster of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is aware of the activity and understand Lesotho’s Prime Minister Motsoahae Thomas Thabane has taken charge of the government.

"What we are concerned about is a military build-up in and around Maseru," said Nkoana-Mashabana. "Through the AU we are very clear that coups would not be tolerated."

Since elections in May 2012, Lesotho has been run by a coalition government with All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thabane as Prime Minister.

Thabane’s ABC is in a coalition with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP). They assumed seats in parliament after their coalition won a little over 50 percent of the vote in 2012.

Today Minister Nkoana-Mashabana said, "At the moment we think the PM is in charge of the government and parliament has been propagated."

This conflicts with statements Thabane made last week. He said any suggestions that the coalition government had collapsed were "misplaced". The Prime Minister was quoted by Lesotho’s Public Eye website.

South Africa is currently involved in the Highlands Water Project in partnerships with Lesotho. Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters is also due to visit Lesotho to discuss taxi transportation across the border.

The minister said, "We are monitoring the situation through our security agencies."

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