Lesotho, SA sign social development deal

> Nteboheleng Mabitso

Bloemfontein – The Lesotho and South African governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Social Development aimed at working together to weather the economic global storm and minimise the impact on the poor in Free State, Bloemfontein..

Speaking at the signing ceremony South African Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, said the current changes in societies around the world are clear indications that issues of Social Development cannot be constrained by political borders.

She said in recent years the world has witnessed an international movement that promotes Social Development as a shared value saying challenges such as poverty, conflicts, migration, unemployment and inequality, are all examples of issues that the international community was grappling with.

Bathabile said the joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation between the two countries clearly indicates unity in their vision to achieve the economic and social upliftment of their people.

“Most importantly, it reflects African solidarity and our governments’ collective commitment to everlasting peace and development in the African continent.

“This agreement is, therefore, part of this cooperation and we need to ensure that we regularly report onprogress,” she said.

Bathabile said the overarching objective of the joint commission was essentially to consolidate not only the historical and cultural ties that exist between South Africa and Lesotho but also to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Bathabile said the agreement gives them an opportunity to share experiences as a country as well as learn from their counterparts in Lesotho.

She urged officials to move with speed in finalising the implementation plan so that no time is wasted in getting down to work.

“It is also important to involve the Free State Province as a partner during the implementation of the agreement because of their geographical proximity to Lesotho,” she said.

She said through the cooperation, South Africa and Lesotho were responding to challenges of their time and creating a more humane world where people, both young and old can prosper and reach their potential.

Lesotho Minister of Social Development Molahlehi Letlotlo said the deal marked a significant milestone in the long history of cooperation between the two countries.

Letlotlo said SA and Lesotho share borders, culture, and most importantly many Basotho work and reside in South Africa, hence there are some shared responsibilities between the two countries.

Letlotlo said Lesotho was constantly making efforts to improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups of society to ensure that they enjoy their basic human rights and realise their full potential.

He said it was a fact that the two countries faced huge challenges on a variety of issues affecting vulnerable people notably children.

Letlotlo called for constant consultations to exchange and review programmes to better their socio-economic status.

Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment has identified various causes of vulnerability in the country such as poverty, shelter, economic insecurity and inadequate food and nutrition in the households.

Social Cash Grants Programme (CGP) for Lesotho were introduced in 2009 to roll-out a ground breaking programme to provide poor households caring for orphaned and other vulnerable children (OVC) as well as child headed households, with a quarterly payment of R360.

It is reported that approximately 5,000 OVC living in 1,250 poor households had been reached in the first three pilot areas of the CGP.

The initiative is named the Lesotho Child Grants Programme (CGP).

Reports indicate that the number of South Africans who are beneficiaries of the social security programme increased from 2.5 million in 1993 to more than 16 million in 2014.

SA has programmes for Older Persons, Youth, Persons with Disabilities, Adoptions, Community Development, Sustainable Development and Lesotho has for the orphaned, older persons and disabled children.

October 2015
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