SA border tour reveals broken fences, syndicates and social grant fraud

29 November 2018 - 17:10 By Andre Jurgens
A DA delegation to the Beitbridge border between SA and Zimbabwe found an unmanned gate large enough for a truck to drive through.
A DA delegation to the Beitbridge border between SA and Zimbabwe found an unmanned gate large enough for a truck to drive through.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

Three trips to gauge the state of SA’s borders have revealed broken fences, alleged social grant fraud and easy ways to cross over undetected.

The visits, undertaken by the DA over the past month, painted a grim picture, the party said on Thursday.

“Astoundingly we came across areas of the fence which had been cut through, as well as a big open and unmanned gate large enough for a truck to drive through,” said MP Jacques Julius, party spokesperson on immigration after a trip to the Beitbridge border in Limpopo between SA and Zimbabwe on November 12.

“SANDF [SA Defence Force] members we spoke to… indicated the crucial need for a proper fence, but also to clear the area 100m from the fence, for watch towers, infrared equipment and drones,” he said, referring to an inspection of the Manguzi border in KwaZulu-Natal between SA and Mozambique on November 13.

“We were able to cross into Mozambique, buy fish, and cross back into SA.”

Julius said the party engaged there with terrified communities who were being “taken advantage of by carjacking syndicates.”

“We also learned that there are people coming across the border to collect social grants and shop in SA before returning across the border. This issue is not tied to people who wish to stay in SA, but rather people whose unimpeded movement into our country allows them to exploit benefits intended for South Africans.”

The party said that authorities needed to investigate the alleged social grant fraud.

At the Skilpadshek border in the North West on the border with Botswana an SANDF official revealed that the border did not have an appropriate fence, only an agricultural fence.

Julius said the DA would seek an urgent meeting with the SANDF to discuss concerns and challenges faced by the military in securing the country’s borders.

X