Lesotho Officials Deliberate Over Claiming Parts of South African Territory

The border between South Africa and Lesotho at Sani Pass (file photo).
28 March 2023

Cape Town — Lesotho MPs are expected to deliberate over whether parts of South Africa's territory may be reclaimed, BBC reports. According to parliament's order paper, areas under consideration include the entirety of the Free State province, parts of the Northern Cape, parts of the Eastern Cape, parts of Mpumalanga and parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

The document adds that reclamation will be pursued according to the United Nations Resolution 1817 (XVII), passed by the body's General Assembly in December 1962.

Historically, Lesotho's people were spread among the Orange Free State Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and parts of KwaZulu-Natal but, due to the Mfencane and other Nguni wars, the Basotho were forced to migrate and moved north to what is now present-day Lesotho. Deals to appease the leadership of Swaziland - now eSwatini - and Lesotho to to offer additional territory were chronicled in a journal article by  Chitja Twala and John Aerni-Flessner who examined Lesotho's claim to 'Conquered Territory' and argued that  border contestations were central to defining ideas of state power in southern Africa during the apartheid era.

"In trying to force its neighbours' hands, South Africa proposed the possibility of making good on claims on South African land made by Lesotho and Swaziland dating back to the 19th century. Proposals to transfer land caused leaders on all sides to make difficult decisions that pitted national interests against global geopolitics. All too often, borderlands residents paid the price for disputes over sovereignty. This position of vulnerability continues today." Twala and Aerni-Flessner wrote for The Conversation.

According to Scrolla, some activists have called for annexation given South Africa and Lesotho's proximity.

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