Free State Is Affected By Events In Lesotho

Roy Jankielsohn MPL

DA Free State Spokesperson for Agriculture

Lesotho and the Free State have developed a symbiotic relationship. Critical food shortages in Lesotho as well as the maintenance on the Lesotho Highland Water Scheme have serious consequences for the Free State.

The looming food shortages have the potential to increase cross border crime. The Eastern Free State already experiences serious crime problems that have significantly reduced agricultural activity along the Lesotho border. Any food shortages in Lesotho due to the reduction in crop yields will have a further security impact for the Free State. This will have to be taken into account by the SAPS and SANDF that are deployed in attempts to secure the border.

The maintenance on the Lesotho Highland Water Scheme has also stopped water supplies to South Africa from the Katse Dam. The implications of this are already being experienced in the Free State.

Tweeling town in the Mafube Municipality is expected to experience severe water shortages in the next two months. Furthermore, many agricultural activities are dependent on this water supply. Fruit and wheat farmers require water during this time of the year for irrigation. The maintenance could affect crop yields if rain is not forthcoming.

Clearly South Africa, and specifically the Free State, are affected by events in Lesotho. The relationship is no longer one of dependency by Lesotho on South Africa, but one of social, economic, and political symbiosis (mutual dependency).

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