Border Guard

It should not be government’s responsibility to create jobs. Normally it should help create the (macroeconomic) conditions for employment and leave the rest to employers. Faced with an impatient unemployed proletariat of some 29 million people (out of a population of 48 million and just 13.6 million taxpayers), the government of President Jacob Zuma is keen to lend the market a hand.
Ballooning the civil service is a bad idea and one questions whether current plans to expand the regular mustering of the police, already one of the world`s largest, from 180 000 to 210 000 in two years` time, will make a positive impact on the fight against crime.
But even this astronomical number will not allow the police to take back a job they stuck the military with in 1987 – borderline security. Unlike the police, the South African National Defence Force is currently under-strength and by all accounts over-stretched.
defenceWeb has previously reported that by one estimate it would take 20 companies to safeguard or patrol the thousands of kilometres between the country`s legal ports of entry. Best practice suggests that for every company deployed, five should be in various states of preparedness to take over the task, meaning the borderline patrol task will require 120 companies. The infantry`s tables of organisation notes a company`s strength at 128, numbering the requirement at over 15 000 personnel.        
Professor Deane-Peter Baker in his recent US War College paper on SA Army Strategy 2020, proposed a “border patrol” for the task. A constabulary or Border Guard of this type would have the paramilitary training and organisation to patrol long lonely borders as well as the police powers to arrest illegal border-crossers.
As a paramilitary, it will also have the formed units to support the police in crowd control. These “formed police units” are also in high demand for peacekeeping, and this constabulary could help out there too.
Baker suggests this force be recruited from former Military Skills Development Programme personnel and be placed under police command. A better location may be within the recently-announced Border Management Agency.          
Jobs and borderline security: sounds win-win to this writer!
Some good news on the economy
New York University economics professor Nouriel Roubini – about the only person that saw last year`s econo-financial implosion, the Great Recession, says there is hope. According to Bloomberg he sees a global recovery taking hold “near the end of this year” with further increases in commodity prices – which is good for Africa – “especially next year”.
Unfortunately, Roubini does have a dark cloud for his silver lining: he sees a possible further recession late next year or in 2011 “due to rising government debt, higher oil prices and no job growth.”    
Local economists note that South Africa is lagging global trends by about six months.
Congratulations to Major General Duma Mdutyana who has been appointed deputy force commander of the hybrid United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Cabinet last Wednesday endorsed the appointment made at the request of the UN. Mdutyana has previously commanded 43 South African Brigade, the Project Thebe military assistance detachment in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Group 6. He has also served as Director Area Defence in the SA Army Infantry Formation. In Darfur, Mdutyana will work closely with force commander General Martin Luther Magwai from Nigeria and his civil police commander, Mike Fryer, an assistant commissioner in the South African Police Service.
Congratulations also to international relations and development director general Ayanda Ntsaluba who has had his employment contract extended a further three years.