Kruger/Mozambique border fence to be rebuilt?


Rhino poaching has now reached a level where it has become necessary for a physical barrier to again be put in place between the Kruger National Park and Mozambique.

SANParks chief executive Dr David Mabunda has recommended to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, on behalf of the national conservation agency’s board, that the boundary fence be reconstructed.

The recommendation follows the killing of a rhino in the park in the past 15 days. Kruger has lost 107 of the 146 rhinos killed for their horn to date this year.

This move is sure to find favour with specifically the SANDF’s Joint Operations Division, responsible for border protection and assisting with rhino anti-poaching operations in the Kruger park.

The possibility of rebuilding the fence was first raised in January last year, with Mabunda pointing to a cost in the region of R250 million. Subsequently then-Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited the park to see first-hand the situation on the ground. Cost considerations, they said after an inspection of the boundary, put rebuilding the fence out of reach.

At the same time senior Joint Operations officers said the border protection task was made more difficult by the nature of the terrain. It was described as wild and difficult to negotiate with no roads and only game tracks to use as some form of usable guide surface for the 4X4 bakkies employed as personnel carriers in the bush.

The division’s Brigadier General Koos Liebenberg said various technology options, including electronic beams for early warning, were under investigation.

He warned then cost was a hampering factor and this is likely to be even more so now with another two companies to be deployed on border protection in the coming financial year.