Pretoria has apologised to Lesotho monarch King Letsie III, narrowly avoiding a diplomatic row, after he complained of being "mistreated" at the border between the two countries, IOL has reported.
International relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu reportedly said on Tuesday that she would personally travel to Lesotho to apologise to the king, as Basotho threaten to close the border with protests.
"I've just had a meeting now with the foreign minister of Lesotho. As you know, we are experiencing problems at the border. The king of Lesotho is extremely aggrieved by the way he was treated at the border. I have expressed to him my sincerest apologies for this. I have indicated to him that I will personally go to Lesotho to apologise to the king for any mistreatment he might have encountered at our border," she reportedly said.
Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba was on his way to the border to attend to any administrative issues that may have arisen, so as to avoid more tension, Sisulu also announced.
But she did not say exactly what had upset the king. According to Daily Maverick, Sisulu simply said that she was told by Lesotho foreign minister Lesego Makgothi that there would be a letter waiting for her on her desk from the king, complaining about his treatment at the border.
"We are experiencing some problems at the border," she reportedly said.
According to the SABC, the king was held at the border for an hour while his vehicles were searched. There have also been complaints on social media complaining about delays at the border, SABC reported.
Acording to some reports, there have been complaints that officials at the border have deliberately slowed down the process of crossing, while there have also been allegations that home affairs officials have destroyed Lesotho passports.