Residents march to Lebombo Border over crime

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Residents of Nkomazi in Mpumalanga embarked on a peaceful march to the Lebombo Port of Entry to hand over a memorandum of grievances. The residents allege that crime, which includes kidnapping, killings, hijackings and robberies have increased in the area. They further allege that undocumented immigrants from Mozambique enter through the border to commit crime and then flee back to their country.

Nkomazi residents say they have had enough. They took to the street leading to the Lebombo Port of Entry, to hand over a memorandum of grievances. The residents say criminal activities are on the rise. They are pointing fingers at undocumented immigrants from Mozambique. They also accuse border officials of corruption.

“We have people who were kidnapped in this border, and they were raped. These perpetrators they demanded money from them, money they did not have because they were farm workers. We also have problem of stolen cars passing from our residents, we are not safe,” a community member explains.

“There is a problem with the fence that it’s easy for the undocumented immigrants to pass and come to South Africa,” another community elaborates.

Community leaders say cars are smuggled into Mozambique daily. Kidnapping cases are also increasing. Last month, three South African citizens were kidnapped, allegedly by Mozambican nationals. They were released after being tortured for five days. The residents are demanding improved security measures.

“They must reconstruct a fence, because this border, the border line that is adjacent to the border line is fenceless. We also want mass lighting because criminals do as they want and there is an issue of corruption here,” says Sipho Sibiya, community leader.

Border authorities accepted the memorandum. They promised to forward it to the relevant stakeholders.

“We have received the memorandum. We have received it and acknowledge it. We will go through it and give them clarity of other issues which they have to understand especially with the fence issue because it is not our responsibility,” says Tshifhiwa Munaka, Control Agriculture Product of Quarantine Technician.

The residents have given the border authorities 30 days to respond.