Travellers call for fixing of Beitbridge fence and increased patrols

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Travellers at the Beitbridge border, outside Musina, in Limpopo have called on government to increase police patrols and fix the porous border line fence.

Truck drivers spend days waiting in queues on the N1 and are often attacked by criminals.

Allen Khupha is a truck driver who transports goods from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe.

We (truck drivers) are always in the queue waiting to cross. This place is not safe especially at night, drivers always get attacked by thieves. The police I think they should increase their patrolling and the security fence I think it should be fixed because people are trespassing.”

“Ja if they increase the police patrols day and night, soldiers also have to be inside that bush. The fence they have to tighten it. If it was a razor wire it was going to be difficult for them to cut it. They must give us police too much patrols. They must build a new fence because Maguma-gumas attack people and the fence should have electricity because it has not electricity they just come and attack and all track drivers are scared of Maguma-gumas,” adds another traveller.

Government announced this week that it had stopped repairing the R40 million fence because it is not fit for purpose. Public Works Minister, Patricia de Lille, said a site clearance process is expected to be completed by the middle of the year that will pave the way for changes to the fence.

Beitbridge border fence saga may head to court:

De Lille’s spokesperson, Zara Nicholson, says negotiations with other departments such as Defence and Military Veterans and Home Affairs are continuing about securing the border line.

“Home Affairs Minister is also working with the department of Home Affairs not only the border fence but also the type of fencing for better solution for our country. Minister De Lille also communicated to the NCOP that the fiscus is not in good space and now various options will be explored the Minister also update the NCOP to say that the department will not be repairing the existing fence because it will be irregular expenditure and because the current fence is not fit for purpose,” Nicholson says.

Police and soldiers are patrolling around the border and on the N1.