by Harold McGluwa, MPL – DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
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Date: 23 August 2018
This statement follows an oversight inspection of the Onseepkans Border post in the Northern Cape by DA Provincial Chairperson and Constituency Head of Benede Oranje, Harold McGluwa MPL accompanied by Spokesperson of Health, Isak Fritz MPL, earlier this week. See photos here and here.
The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape has found that the level of security and quality of border checks of people travelling between South Africa and Namibia is severely compromised due to a lack of resources, a shortage of staff and outdated computer software systems.
Based on our oversight inspection, it is clear that the biggest shortcoming of this border post is a lack of tools of the trade, including drug testing equipment and truck scanners.
The border post is also not secured with an electric boom and gate. The border is further in need of a higher fence, especially along the bridge, as it is currently too easy for anyone to climb onto the bridge from the neighbouring farm and simply cross the border by foot.
This border post has only one Home Affairs Official and one Police Officer on duty per shift and requires additional staff for support.
Officials are also still using the old MCS System which is not compatible with the new EMCS System that other border posts are working with. This system needs to be upgraded to the latest software but no date has been given for these upgrades.
Officials at this border post reported that they have not experienced any interceptions of drug mules or other contraband over the past few years. But given the lack of equipment to ensure thorough checks, and the easy access over the bridge, the DA questions the veracity of this statement.
While Onseepkans is regarded as the quietest of all border posts in South Africa, it does not mean that it should be disregarded.
It is undeniably a weak link in the chain of South African security and particularly poses risks of human trafficking, illegal smuggling of drugs, firearms, fauna and flora. The conditions at the border post further pose a safety risk to the staff who man the border.
The DA will elevate our call for the Department of Home Affairs to prioritise the following:
• Ensure necessary equipment is in place to enable quality border control;
• Secure our borders and fix our fences, making it impossible for people to enter South Africa illegally; and
• Make legal entry as easy as possible, with an emphasis on up to date computer systems and skilled workers.
Only a DA-led government will make it our priority to properly secure our borders and prevent illegal immigration and illegal goods from entering our country.
Harold McGluwa, MPL
DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
082 440 1779
Northern Cape Provincial Researcher
079 226 0991