The South African National Defence Force is increasing the number of companies deployed on border control duties along the nations borders with four, taking the number to 11. This I part of the state’s intensifying efforts to improve border management to deal with cross-border crime syndicates and to curb poaching, Justice minister Jeff Radebe said yesterday.
“In that regard we will be deploying a further four military companies on the Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho borders as of April 2012 bringing the total number of companies to ,” he said. A military company consists of 150 soldiers.
“In that regard we will be deploying a further four military companies on the Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho borders as of April … bringing the total number of companies to eleven,” he said. A company consists of 150 soldiers, the South African Press Association reports. “The deployment includes army engineers who are conducting repairs and maintenance on the Zimbabwe/Mozambique border fence which is approximately 140km,” said Radebe.
“Effective border management is part of the government crime prevention strategy, which assists to deal with cross-border crime syndicates and curb poaching.” Speaking at the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing yesterday, Radebe said the SANDF deployment of forces continues in a phased approach working with other government role players, the police, South African Revenue Service (SARS) as well as departments of Home Affairs, Tourism, Public Works, Transport, Health, State Security and Agriculture.
“As part of this deployment, operations are being conducted to combat cross-border crime, stock theft and illegal grazing, as well as rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP),”he said. According to Radebe, thirteen rhino poachers were captured through this operation, the state BuaNews agency reports. “These deployed companies have confiscated contraband to the value of more than R16 million in the financial year 2011/12. It included 7593kg of dagga and 453 kg copper.
“Additionally, 522 cattle were recovered and 737 small stock. More than 14 000 undocumented foreign nationals were apprehended, 51 stolen vehicles were recovered and 36 criminals were arrested,” he said. He said the rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park has decreased since the deployment of the SANDF in that area. However, he said the poachers have shifted their focus and are now targeting private parks as the country has so far witnessed a number of increased killings of the rhinos. “Law enforcement agencies are collaborating in dealing with this challenge,” he said.
Last month Free State farmers said they were again headed for court over what they described as a chaotic situation along the rugged Lesotho border. The Afrikaans daily, Beeld, reported that they said government has failed to live up to its undertakings in a June 2010 settlement that was made an order of court. One of the new companies will deploy along he Free State frontier to join a company deployed there last April as part of Operation Corona.
Last August, the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans says the 165 troops deployed to the Lesotho borderline in April as part of Operation Corona, is sufficient to meet the requests of the Free State Agricultural Union to combat stock theft and monitor crossings from Lesotho to the Free State and visa versa. It was responding to a question on the subject by Democratic Alliance MP DA Worth. The ministry added there are regular interactions between the South African National Defence Force and the provincial farmers’ lobby.
Brigadier General “Koos” Liebenberg, the director conventional operations at the Joint Operations Division said round he same time planning for Operation Corona would see the 22 companies, each mustering 165 personnel, deployed along the country’s 4471km land border by March 2015.