Transcript: SADC facilitator and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s remarks at the press conference to welcome the three former exiled Lesotho opposition political party leaders, Maseru

"We don't have a lot of time as leaders here have to go to a rally. It suffices just to say that we are here as SADC to welcome the leaders back. Ntate [Tom] Thabane, Ntate [Thesele] Masiribane and Mme Keke [Keketso Rantso], we welcome them back", said Facilitator and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"This is in fulfilment of a decision that was taken by the SADC Troika in June last year when it said that it would be desirable that the three leaders of the opposition parties should come back to Lesotho. They had left under circumstances which had compelled them to leave, but the SADC Troika leaders felt that notwithstanding all that, it would be a desirable thing if they came back and they therefore asked the Facilitator to assist in the process of getting them back to Lesotho" continued Deputy President Ramaphosa.

He further said "Today we are overjoyed that the leaders are now here. They are here to continue playing their role as leaders of the people of Lesotho, leaders of the various political parties that they leader and also leaders in the opposition in parliament. Lesotho has a proud history of democracy, and in our view it is important that all political players', particularly political parties and the leaders here should play their key role that they were elected for in parliament".

"What they were concerned about was their security situation and we have been involved in discussions with the government. And the government has given assurance that yes the leaders will be secured. The Lesotho Mounted Police Service will provide them with security. That has given us a great deal of assurance and satisfaction that peace and stability will continue to be enhanced with the leaders present here. We therefore expect that as the political process unfolds in Lesotho, they will play their key role", continued Deputy President Ramaphosa.

"One of the key issues that SADC looks forward to is the implementation of the Phumaphi Commission report and we look forward to all the various proposals that were put forward by Judge Phumaphi to be implemented. One of those is that the investigation into the passing away of Brigadier Mahao should be done. We now know that General [Tlali] Kamoli has been removed he has gone into retirement. That is the fulfillment of the Phumaphi report recommendations. But the investigation needs to be done", further said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

"The other important one is the whole process of constitutional and security reforms. We had thorough going discussions with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister that these discussions, these processes need to be inclusive. They need to be processes that will involve the various formations in Lesotho. Not only political parties but organs of civil society, faith based organisations and all manner of other organisations but more importantly the people of Lesotho themselves. They reiterated they request that they would like SADC to assist them in this whole process. So SADC is now going to be much more firmly involved in assisting them", said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

"The various countries in the region will get involved in giving assistance, guidance, advice and sharing our own experiences in fostering all these. Lesotho now needs to get to grips with its own future in terms of dealing with the constitutional reforms, dealing with the security reforms, so that peace and stability can be further assured but more importantly that the political process can be further stabilized so that the situation in Lesotho does not need and require outsiders to come to play any role that the Basotho people should be able to drive the whole political process in their own country. With those words I welcome the three leaders and we are very pleased that they are back home. SADC is very satisfied that they are here", concluded Deputy President Ramaphosa.

Thank you very much.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

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