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MPs in Lesotho debate motion to reclaim ‘stolen land’ from South Africa

MPs in Lesotho are debating a motion to reclaim huge tracts of land from its giant neighbour South Africa.

“It’s time for what is ours to be returned to us,” opposition MP Tsepo Lipholo told his fellow lawmakers.

He said while this was an issue dating back many decades, he believed it was still an important issue that needed addressing.

His motion is based on a 1962 UN resolution that recognised the right to self-determination and independence for the people of Basutoland – as Lesotho was called before its independence in 1966.

Historically the Basotho lived in parts of South Africa’s Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

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But many were forced to move because of conflict in the 19th Century to present-day Lesotho where resources are scarce.

The landlocked country is largely mountainous with limited agricultural space in the lowlands.

The former British protectorate has been heavily dependent on the country which completely surrounds it – South Africa.

Over the decades thousands of workers have been forced by the lack of job opportunities to find work at South African mines.

Mr Lipholo said land reclaimed from South Africa would help to bring prosperity to the Basotho people.

The Lesotho government is yet to comment on the issue. BBC News