Large sections of the border security fence between South Africa and Zimbabwe have been stolen as the South African police have reduced patroling the area. South Africa’s Democratic Alliance at the weekend said visits at the site last week revealed that the fence have been stolen.
“The South African Police Service appears to have given up protecting the borders of South Africa on our visit (…) In the Beit Bridge area we found
that (…) several gates had been left open; the borderline fence had
been cut wide open in several places; large sections (…) had been
stolen and (…) flattened in many places.” Democratic Alliance said in a statement to the media.
Democratic Alliance says the state of the South Africa-Zimbabwe border fence was shocking. “The SAPS do not do foot patrols, and were deployed at 10km intervals at sub-stations along the South Africa-Zimbabwe border (…) The poor state of borderline security made it possible for organised crime syndicates to smuggle cigarettes and livestock. Poachers also came over the border, causing a major problem for farmers in the area.”
Apart from the economic disadvantages the main South African opposition party was also concerned with the high health risks involved in the movement of livestock across the border. “With livestock easily moving over the border, there was a continuous threat of foot-and-mouth disease breaking out in the area,” the statement read.
The area where the fence was missing is mostly used by Zimbabweans who
cross to South Africa illegaly. At the height of the Zimbabwean economic and political crisis it was estimated that close to 3000 Zimbabwean would cross weekely to South Africa.