by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 12 November 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on all role players with a stake in border security, to take responsibility for the poor state of the border fences between the Northern Cape and Botswana.
This comes after it was reported in the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture’s Annual Report for 2017/2018, that the border fences around the Nakoop and Kgalagadi areas are in such a poor condition that wooden poles are used to keep the fence upright. This condition might put the country at risk of trans-boundary animal diseases.
In addition, the report further indicates that along the Botswana route, three smuggling route tracks have also been identified and are apparently under investigation by the police.
According to the provincial department, maintenance of the international border fence remains the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry Fisheries (DAFF) while the province just plays an oversight role and constantly engages DAFF when there are problems.
The DA is alarmed that DAFF is not reacting to the provincial department’s concerns and that the important issue of securing our borders has become somewhat of a ping-pong ball between government departments.
The DA has requested the provincial Agriculture Department to provide a comprehensive report on the matter, specifically with regards to what they have reported to DAFF and subsequent action taken by DAFF. We will also write to Provincial Police Commissioner, Risimati Shivuri, requesting that he provides us with feedback on the smuggling routes and also tells us what the police are doing to curb this risk.
Border security plays an important role in preventing smuggling of narcotics, diamonds, fauna and flora, and even human trafficking. It must be taken seriously, especially along the quiet and rural boundaries of this province, which are too often overlooked to the benefit of crime syndicates.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that our borders are secure, from top to bottom, to protect all our people and our natural resources.