Unabriged media release: Sisulu AgriSA meeting

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JOINT COMMUNICQUE: MEETING BETWEEN THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS AND AGRI SA, 24 MAY 2010, PRETORIA

On 24 May 2010 the Department of Defence and Agri SA held a meeting at the Defence Headquarters in Pretoria to address matters of mutual interest and concern relating to the protection of the integrity of South Africa’s landward borders.

The context for the meeting was the phased return to border security duty by members of the South African National Defence Force that got underway in April 2010 with the deployment of four companies to South Africa’s north-eastern borders.

The Minister was accompanied by the Secretary for Defence designate, Ms Mpumi Mpofu and the Chief of the SA National Defence Force, Gen Godfrey Ngwenya.

Agri SA delegation was led by it’s President, Mr Johannes Möller and it included the National Chairperson of Agri SA National Rural Safety Committee and representatives from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

In her opening remarks Minister Sisulu spoke of the strategic value of much of the land adjacent to South Africa’s borders. Only 13% of South Africa’s land surface was considered arable land, with a relatively high proportion on our borders. South African farmers, commercial and sustenance farmers, on the borders and in the hinterland, made a critical contribution to the food security and welfare of our nation.

Agri SA President, Mr Möller said that strict and consistent maintenance of the integrity of South Africa’s borders is important for trade, disease control, combating of crime and illegal entry, and also to properly protect landowner’s right to use their property, against cross-border interference and crime. He welcomed the initiative of the Minister to invite Agri SA for a meeting to discuss the new mandate of the Defence Force to protect the international borders of South Africa. He gave Agri SA’s full cooperation and support for this initiative.

The meeting agreed to negotiate a framework for cooperation to improve border protection. The parties also agreed to have liaison meetings in the three provinces with affected role-players to achieve a better understanding of the issues concerning the integrity of the borders as well as the safety and security of those communities living along the borders. Both parties agreed to cooperate in ensuring that borders of the country are secured. Furthermore the parties agreed to share information in order to combat crime.

The undertaking on border protection cooperation that emerged as an outcome of the engagement committed the parties to:

Continue with similar engagements to discuss challenges regarding border protection.

Establish a working group to draft a document on joint border cooperation.

To share information.

Ends

Issued by: Defence Corporate Communication
(Defence Media Liaison)

Pretoria



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