SANDF deploying into Kruger, along Lesotho border in April


The South African National Defence Force will from April safeguard the Free State side of the Lesotho border, with a company deployed there as part of Operation Corona. The military is currently deployed along stretches of the South African frontier with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Meanwhile, there are reports the police will completely halt border-line operations next month.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu earlier this week said the SANDF returned to the borders of South Africa with Zimbabwe and Mozambique to facilitate the flow of goods and people and to effectively manage the border environment. “We seek to cover the over 4800km of land border by end of 2013. South Africa is also strengthening its sea and air border management with additional deployments being made. The SAS Mendi, a South African Navy MEKO-class frigate, has resumed patrol [sic] along the Mozambique Channel where we are cooperating with Mozambican authorities to ensure maritime security in Southern African waters.”
“The SANDF has made noticeable achievements since its deployment to the borders. Farmers and business people along the borders have reported a drop in cross border crime, and a number of arrests have been made which have impacted heavily on syndicates trading in illegal goods and vehicle thefts,” Sisulu said at a media briefing by Cabinet’s International Cooperation, Trade and Security cluster.
“The SANDF, in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS), are working with law enforcement agencies of the region to investigate and stop cross border crimes,” she added. The SANDF currently has four companies deployed along the Zimbabwean and Mozambican borders, with bases at Pontdrift and Musina in Limpopo, Macadamia in Mpumalanga and Ndumo in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). “To ensure safe and secure tourism we have now started deploying on our border along the Kruger National Park. We will also deploy inside the Park to support the internal security of the Kruger Park and to assist the SAPS with combating rhino poaching. We seek to create a crime free environment that guarantees safe tourism. We also seek to stop the illegal movements of people and goods and related criminal activities,” Sisulu added.

She continued she was pleased that the national police commissioner General Bheki Cele had recently noted “that in fact our deployment to the border has resulted in a decrease of cross border crime, so that didn’t come from us it came from the people who are working with us and whom we are replacing on the borders.” Acting Chief of the SANDF Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima also reported to her that border communities “in those areas are very happy with the deployment of the defence force and that we are doing a good job out there.” Matanzima visited current SANDF deployments last week. “There are a number of ways in which we have made inroads into cutting across crime. We have lowered the rate of car theft that drives across the borders because we are now in the process of implementing very firm continues border control. No possibility that existed in the past of cars being driven across to our neighbouring states.
“The syndicates which have been operating specifically between Mozambique and ourselves have been arrested, syndicate leaders have been arrested and this particular crime is being brought under control. The farmers have shown confidence in ourselves and we are being urged by the farmers along the Free State to hasten to ensure that we can protect their borders because we have that level of certainty around the fact that when we are there, crime will go down. Illegal cigarettes especially across the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe have gone down. We have also had successful arrests around poachers on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) border. We could go on with our successes but I think that when the Chief of the SAPS spoke on this matter he spoke for all of us.”
For more on this subject, consider attending defenceWeb’s Border Control conference at Gallagher Estate on March 8 and 9, 2011. For more information contact Maggie Pienaar at ++27 11 807 3294 or [email protected]

Pic: Two Democratic Alliance MPs at a stretch of demolished fence along the Free State-Lesotho border during a 2009 tour of inspection.