defenceWeb’s border conference takes shape


defenceWeb has assembled what promises to be a top team of government, military, industry and academic speakers to address developments in the South African border environment at our second Border Control Conference on March 8 and 9.

Professor Gavin Cawthra of the University of the Witwatersrand, who assisted in the drafting of the 1996 White Paper on Defence, is scheduled to start proceedings with a look at the national security environment and the need for policy and strategy at this level to provide guidelines for subordinate policies and strategies, including those applicable in the border arena.

Next deputy national police commissioner Lieutenant General Andre Pruis is set to inform delegates on the role and responsibility of the South African Police Service in the border milieu after which the South African National Defence Force’s, Colonel Lucas Delport will address the conference on the implications of the military returning to the borderline. The first contingent deployed to the country’s north and east in April last year and more troops are set to deploy this April.

Speakers from the Department of Agriculture and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are expected to next give delegates insight to current and future developments regarding their responsibilities, while Professor Mike Hough will address immigration. Agriculture will discuss the enormous implications and complications involved with its task to prevent the cross-border movement of infectious human and animal diseases as well as pathogens and invasive species. Both departments were substantially reinforced in resources for last year’s soccer World Cup, with the intent that the new equipment would have post-games value in better securing the country.

The unfortunate position of the farming community in helping to secure a safe border environment will be discussed by AGRI SA.

Dr Francois Vrey of the University of Stellenbosch will next propose “an almost revolutionary new strategic approach to control of the border environment by the state which should have a profound influence on departmental thinking,” says defenceWeb consultant Colonel David Peddle (Retd) and with this in mind defence analyst Helmoed-Römer Heitman will address the issue “from the outside in” – focussing on the effect of transnational crime on border integrity. Business Against Crime’s Emmanuel Diakakis will speak to the effect of transnational crime on the social fabric. Diakakis will further look at the effect of transnational vehicle crime and its influence on the banking and insurance industries.

Technical issues then follow, with discussions on the role of technology being led by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. SAAB Grintek and Mirosoft will brief on strategic command-and-control, while Rheinmetall MAN “will address logistics and its vital role in ensuring that departments are indeed able to sustain their roles along our convoluted and difficult border environments,” Peddle says. “The role of technology can not be concluded with out a discussion on the important role to be played by remote equipment and in this case Denel Dynamics and AAI Corporation are well placed to review the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in border management.”

For more on this subject, consider attending defenceWeb‘s Border Control conference at Gallagher Estate on March 8 and 9, 2010. For more information contact Maggie Pienaar at ++27 11 807 3294 or [email protected]

Detailed programme available here.

Pic: A stretch of the SA border fence with Zimbabwe on the south bank of the Limpopo as seen in August 2010. A lack of effective patrolling and maintenance have seen the rapid deterioration of the border fence with smugglers cutting holes through the fence almost at will.