While the country’s focus is on the unrest and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, there has been an influx of illegal immigrants entering South Africa from both neighbouring Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini.

Children are among those said to be crossing into South Africa.

Communities on the periphery of the borderline are concerned about illegal activities. They are pleading with the government to intervene before it’s late.

“We have seen an influx of people entering illegally and they bring with them illegal cigarettes, alcohol and we are worried that this will lead to crime. We want the police and defence force to protect the borderline,” says Komatipoort Business Chamber’s Richard Williams.

At the border, trucks are queuing for kilometres, making them vulnerable to criminals.

However, taxi operators say they are on guard.

“We have decided to patrol shopping malls and centres and also patrol the N4 to make sure we protect trucks and important properties,” says Lebombo Taxi Association’s Jabulani Sithole.

Nkomazi Municipality’s Cyril Riphinga is pleading for assistance.

“We need all the help we can get from the police and SANDF because crime is going to go up,” says Riphinga.

Taxi operators and communities protect shopping centres across Mbombela: