After the illicit peddling of duty-free alcohol, a least 12 Lesotho diplomats serving in the Republic of South Africa and their spouses were ordered to leave South Africa.
The dozen of Lesotho diplomats were expelled over the illegal trade, Lesotho’s Foreign Affairs and International Relations ministry confirmed.
Capetown confirmed on Monday that it had learnt with “disappointment and embarrassment that several Basotho diplomats serving in the Republic of South Africa, at Lesotho High Commission in Pretoria and the Consul in Johannesburg have been declared Persona non grata by the South African government.”
The Lesotho officials were given 72 hours to leave the country after violating the laws “specifically, the illicit trade in duty-free alcohol.”
The deported diplomats have been bringing alcohol into the country without paying duty and then re-selling it in bars and restaurants.
Disciplinary action will be waiting for Lesotho diplomats at home
Commenting on the unexpected actions of its diplomatic staff, the foreign ministry in Lesotho said it will take disciplinary action against the diplomats when they return home.
“The government of the Kingdom of Lesotho distances itself and condemns the actions of the said diplomats in the strongest terms. Measures are underway to ensure their return in the stipulated 72 hours,” reads the statement.
A leaked note from the South African government sent to the Foreign Affairs ministry in Maseru, lists 12 diplomats, including spouses, who “have abused their diplomatic privileges.”
South Africa’s Foreign Affairs ministry is yet to make a public announcement about the move, The East African reported.