The third annual meeting of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC) opened in Maseru on January 27.
1. SV PAN Flag flying and meeting hall, Maseru, Lesotho 0.05
2. SV & GV Delegates and officials arrive for meeting (3 shots) 0.24
3. SV Lesotho Finance Minister Mr. K.T. Rakhetla speaking (SOT) (3 shots) 2.21
TRANSCRIPT (SEQUENCE THREE) RAKHETLA:
"Lesotho was a British Protectorate over a number of years and the policy of then British government was that Lesotho should not be developed so that she may look to South Africa for survival, ending up with a voluntary acceptance by Lesotho to become part and parcel of South Africa. Fortunately, this policy was not accepted by Lesotho in general and other leadership proposals. This is why our entire economy was greeted towards South Africa. Lesotho was regarded as a labour force for the South African industries and that most specifically, for the South African mines. Thanks to our leaders, thanks to the nation, we have been rejecting these policies, and our rejection of this policy has culminated with the independence of Lesotho, on the 4th of October, 1966. It is quite true, that because of the previous policies, of the colonial power, which ruled Lesotho, and because of the location of Lesotho herself, we are where we are, completely surrounded by South Africa. Our view, by the people, our activities, since independence do indicate a move towards lessening total dependence on South Africa. And we believe that by moving further in co-operating with other countries in the economic field, we are in the process, beginning to reduce our total dependence on South Africa."
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Background: MASERU, LESOTHO
The third annual meeting of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC) opened in Maseru on January 27. On the previous day, the leaders of the nine SADCC countries were joined by delegates from the European Community and investment banks. Lesotho's Finance Minister, Mr K. Rakhetla explained the history of his country's economic dependence on South Africa. He also said that his country was trying to develop economic co-operation with other countries in an effort to break that dependence. Lesotho has traditionally been dependent on South Africa for its economic survival but rejects the policy of apartheid. The independence granted by South Africa to the Transkei homeland in October 1976 was not recognised by Lesotho. The effective closure of the border with Transkei was particularly damaging as it virtually halted all traffic and prevented food supplies being brought in from South Africa. Plans to reduce the dependence on South Africa include telecommunications links with Nairobi, a new international airport, a road construction programme, and links with Cuba, Mozambique and Yugoslavia.
Source: REUTERS - LOUIS BREYTENBACH