Upgrades coming for border fencing and patrol roads

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Improvements to South African land border security are on the way, according to Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.

Answering a Parliamentary question from Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow deputy public works minister Samantha Graham-Maré, de Lille said “high level cost estimates for town planning/site clearance” on more than 550 km of border fencing and patrol roads is “currently underway”. She did not specify along which borders but it can be assumed Mozambique is at least one. This because the first component of Graham-Maré’s question related to Mozambicans seeking refuge in South Africa from insurgency and violence in northern Mozambique, particularly Cabo Delgado province. South Africa and its eastern neighbour share a common land border reportedly 496 km in length and De Lille’s reply indicated the town planning/site clearance for fencing and patrols is being done on “approximately 554km” of border.

The findings of the “town planning assessment report” will go to Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s Department of Defence (DoD) and the just established Border Management Authority (BMA), an entity of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). “Joint consideration” by these will see at least parts of the Public Works and Infrastructure report become part of “development of a national border security strategic plan”.

This plan will, again according to De Lille, support “the strategic infrastructure needs” and will be submitted to National Treasury for approval of “additional capital budget allocation” allowing her department to implement the project. The former Cape Town mayor did not provide any timeline for either the assessment and its report or actual implementation of improved fencing and patrol roads.