Communications Minister Roy Padayachie today signed a statement of cooperation with his Kingdom of Lesotho counterpart, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology Mr Mothejoa Metsing in Pretoria.
Minister Metsing is leading a delegation from his department on an official visit to South Africa.
The statement will serve as a vehicle to explore discussions and potential partnerships on mutually beneficial programmes for the two countries. It is envisaged that this will culminate in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Ministries.
Some of the areas of potential cooperation identified by the two Ministers include digital migration, cyber security, home and away roaming, Postal services and broadband.
Minister Metsing says the relationship between the two countries is a unique and important one, adding that South Africa was Lesotho’s only neighbour.
“We have no choice but to work together in the best interests of the people of South and Africa and Lesotho. 4.5 million Basotho live in South Africa compared to the Kingdom’s 1.9 million population,” says Minister Metsing.
He told the meeting that it is not justifiable that residents of the two countries pay a lot to communicate while the distance between Lesotho and South Africa was shorter than the distance between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“This calls for intervention on ways of reducing the cost to communicate for the people of our countries,” says Minister Metsing.
Minister Padayachie shared South Africa’s digital migration roadmap with the Lesotho delegation.
He told them that South Africa was working round the clock to meet the December 2013 deadline.
“We are working on achieving several milestones, the next big one being the public/commercial launch in April 2012 to conclude in December 2013,” says Minister Padayachie.
He added that it was important for SADC countries to work together on issues of common interest so that they can derive more benefits for the region when bargaining in International Forums.
The two Ministers agreed to work towards harmonising their respective department’s policies to ensure that the people of the two countries benefit from the shared experiences.
The delegation from Lesotho received presentations on several projects that the Department of Communications is currently working on, including Broadcast Digital Migration, Telecommunications infrastructure and frequency spectrum, Digital Local Content, among others.
They will also visit the Head of Offices of the SA Post Office, USAASA, SABC, SENTECH, TELKOM, NEMISA and ICASA during their stay in SA.