Some 30 000 motor vehicles illegally cross South Africa’s borders into neighbouring states every year, with one car hire firm losing five rental vehicles this way every month. Business Against Crime (BAC) CE Dr Graham Wright adds no business can stay competitive or sustainable in the face of such losses.
“As far as the priorities of the country is concerned, border control is an important issue.” He said President Jacob Zuma’s priorities, in his February State of the Nation address that focused on job creation, also played out in the border environment. One example, was the illegal importing of goods from neighbouring states on which no taxes or excise were paid. Such goods could be sold cheaper then regularly imported products and had a devastating impact on the profitability of small and informal businesses – and their ability to employ staff.
Wright told defenceWeb‘s second annual Border Control conference South Africans would be surprised to learn how many stolen mobile phones were “packaged” and exported to neighbouring states. While he did not provide the numbers, he said South Africa had a blacklist system in place to block the use of stolen mobile handsets on the country’s cellular networks, but while this capability existed in neighbouring states, it had not been implemented there. This, he elaborated, showed the need for cross-border anti-crime collaboration involving both business and government agencies.
The BAC CE added the business body had been involved in supporting government agencies in the border environment since 1996 when the National Crime Prevention Strategy was introduced. “Any discussion on the border should include business. Business must be involved, we’re a key player.”