Transport Portfolio Committee takes a closer look at the South Africa/Mozambique Border

Transport Portfolio Committee takes a closer look at the South Africa/Mozambique Border
Concerns have been raised by Umhlabuyalingana community about the cross-border vehicle theft that is rampant on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. This has prompted the Portfolio Committee on Transport to visit the planned project of the department which seeks to respond to this challenge.

“We are here to see how far and what plans have been established to respond to the cross-border crime as it remains our greatest concern as a Portfolio Committee”, said the chairperson of the Committee, Hon Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha.

Briefing the Portfolio Committee, the Department of Transport Project Manager, Mr Ndumiso Ndlovu, assured the Committee that the planned project, namely, the Jersey Barrier, includes the construction of the 8km wall along the border line as an initial construction. Responding to questions from members of the Committee, he emphasised that the project will be labour intensive with about 100 jobs to be created for the local people. Various stakeholders have been taken on board, and these include the local Council, Inkosi, suppliers and other relevant government departments.

It was also comforting for members of the Committee to learn that the Defence Force is present to minimise these crimes. However, it came to light that the Defence Force has numerous challenges in curbing these crimes. These include suspected information leaks to criminals regarding the movement of the members of the defence, flocking of civilians between borders and social activities that take place right in the border between South African and Mozambican civilians, the changing of personnel as Defence rotates the deployed of personnel in that area, the limited numbers of members on the ground as only about 47 to man a distance of 20 km etc.

In view of these challenges, the Portfolio Committee resolved to hold further meetings soon to establish amongst others, where the funding for this massive project will come from as was reported. The meeting will further seek to establish whether the funding is sufficient, and to interrogate other decisions that were taken which by the department, according to the Committee leaves it with more questions to ask.