South Africa-Diplomacy-Unification

Southern Africa unification: Illegal occupation claims surface

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

What started off as casual social media comments may turn out to be the matchstick that torched a diplomatic storm between South Africa and some of her smaller neighbours.

This week’s comments by a South African opposition politician Herman Mashaba that Eswatini and Lesotho should be incorporated into South Africa seems to opened a Pandora’s box amid allegations that Pretoria is itself illegally occupying land that belongs to the two countries. 

In a sensational Twitter post this week, the ActionSA leader said Eswatini and Lesotho should be co-opted as provinces of their stronger neighbour on whom both countries heavily rely for economic survival.

He called on leaders of the two countries to swallow their pride and accept the proposal to become provinces of South Africa for “the interest of their citizens.”

Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa and – together with Eswatini – depends on its economically stronger neighbour for most economic goods and services and have strong social ties with Pretoria. 

A sizeable percentage of both countries' citizens work in South Africa where they are mostly employed in mines or on farms.

Mashaba accused “selfish leadership” for holding back development in the two countries and making them unsustainably dependent on South Africa. 

In response, the newly formed Pan-African Kingdoms Council hit back at Mashaba, saying his suggestion was an insult to Eswatini and Lesotho.

“It is insulting to say the least in fathoming ignorant and arrogant insinuations from so-called politicians who claim justice and truth are the cornerstone of their political existence,” the council's Dingizwe Mkhatshwa told journalists.

He said Eswatini was an absolute monarch governed in accordance with local traditions, culturend norms, “a clear principle that the UN charter is built on — self-determination.”

In a move likely to stoke tensions between Pretoria and her neighbours, Mkhatshwa questioned South Africa's sovereign state, accusing South Africa of occupying land that belongs to Eswatini and Lesotho.

He said most of the resources that South Africa is “gloating on are on Emaswati and Lesotho's historic territories, crippling those countries GDP and wealth in the process (through occupation).”

He claimed that South Africa continues to occupy Eswatini, Lesotho and Botswana territories, “violating the UN charter without punitive action”.

“To the contrary, it is de jure the SA administration that has to disintegrate to enable de facto historic indigenous sovereign states to be restored.”

JN/APA

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