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Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, Maseru, Lesotho

His Majesty King Letsie III,
The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Mr Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency Hage Geingob President of Namibia and Chair  of the SADC Organ on Politics, Peace and Security Cooperate,
Honourable leaders of visiting delegations,
Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,
His Lordship the Chief Justice,
Their Excellencies, the Former Prime Ministers,
His Lordship the President of the Court of Appeal,
Members of the Judiciary,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
His Worship the Mayor of Maseru,
Principal Chiefs,
Honourable Members of the National Assembly,
Religious Leaders,
Bo ‘Me le Bo Ntate,
It is a great honour to address this auspicious occasion particularly to come and witness the inauguration of the Right Honourable the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, His Excellency Samuel Matekane.
On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, I offer warm congratulations on your appointment as the Prime Minister of our sister country, Lesotho, a fellow member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Our congratulations go to all Basotho for the successful exercise of their democratic right on 7 October 2022.
History reminds us that when His Majesty King Moshoeshoe I succeeded his father, Kgosi Mokhachane, as the Chief of the Bamokoteli, he forged the Basotho nation in the midst of the devastating conflicts that attended the colonisation of our region.
For many, it became a place of refuge and safety.
After gaining its independence in 1966, the Basotho Kingdom became an essential sanctuary for many South African freedom fighters driven into exile by the apartheid regime.
We acknowledge with gratitude the solidarity and the hospitality of the Basotho, and recognise the sacrifices that were made in the pursuit of our freedom.
This warm and welcoming nature of the Basotho continues to this day.
The strong bonds between our two nations are founded on family ties, shared language, history and culture.
Our pasts are inseparable. Our futures are intertwined.
Over much of the past decade, the Basotho have had to navigate a difficult path towards the restoration of peace, security and stability in the Kingdom.
In December 2014, SADC entrusted me with the task of Facilitator in the Kingdom of Lesotho to assist with the promotion of peace and stability and constitutional reform.
Having experienced South Africa’s transition to democracy, I was aware of the importance of an inclusive and consultative process.
My visits at the time permitted me to meet His Majesty King Letsie III, the Prime Minister and the coalition government, leaders of the opposition parties in Parliament, leaders of political parties outside Parliament, the council of traditional leaders and the Christian Council of Lesotho, among many others.
I was touched by the warmth of the reception we received from all quarters and by the shared commitment to finding a just and sustainable solution.
All stakeholders expressed the urgent need for national reforms and a deep desire for peace and stability in the Kingdom.
After I was elected President of South Africa, this task was taken forward by a Facilitation Team ably led by Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Under his wise leadership, the Facilitation Team worked constructively with the people of the Kingdom.
The approach of the Facilitation Team was to promote open and transparent dialogue, to allow the Basotho to express their own views about the Lesotho they want.
We recall how His Majesty King Letsie III, the former Prime Minister, SADC and the Basotho celebrated the successful culmination of the National Dialogue, which led to the establishment of the National Reforms Authority.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Reforms Authority successfully piloted significant legislative reforms, opening discussions and setting a platform for transitional justice, social cohesion and reconciliation.
The work of the National Reforms Authority is best captured in the Draft Eleventh Constitutional Amendment Act – the Omnibus Bill – which was presented to the 10th Parliament before its dissolution in July 2022.
The reforms contained in the Draft Omnibus Bill lay a solid foundation for the future of the Basotho.
We therefore welcome the commitment of the incoming Government to give priority to the finalisation of this important work.
We believe that the issue of justice and reconciliation is within the grasp of the Basotho.
With the completion of the work of the SADC Facilitation Team, I am confident that the Government of Lesotho and all stakeholders will give the same support and cooperation to the Oversight Committee that was established by the 42nd SADC Summit to oversee the implementation of the national reforms.
In conclusion, I wish to express my gratitude to His Majesty King Letsie III for his guidance and leadership.
I wish to thank the former Prime Minister and the Government of Lesotho, the National Reforms Authority, all political parties and stakeholders, and international cooperating partners for their support and cooperation during the facilitation process.
Lastly, I wish to commend the people of Lesotho for their shared determination to restore peace and stability and to forge a just and prosperous future for the Kingdom.
Please be assured of our continued support and solidarity.
I thank you.