Border defence yields mixed results

2012-11-28 22:32
SANDF briefing (Picture: Sapa)

SANDF briefing (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - The SA National Defence Force has had mixed results since borderline deployment was initiated in 2010, chief joint operations officer Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi said on Wednesday.

Mgwebi was briefing the media in Pretoria on operations in which the army was involved, internally and externally.

He highlighted the defence force's successes in securing the country's borders.

"If you look at the areas we must cover, in total of land border you are looking at 4 471km... You can then understand that we will never have a force to cover [that area] in terms of men on the ground."

The security forces also had to cover 2 798km of maritime and 7 660km of air border.

Eleven companies of the South African security forces have been deployed along the country's borders with neighbouring countries since borderline deployment was initiated in 2010.

"We moved back in the 2010/2011 financial year... the following year the figures went down," Mgwebi said.

"We don't know whether that meant that at least it deterred them to cross or not."

The authorities caught 20 107 undocumented people in 2010 and had caught 13 316 so far this year - most of them from Mozambique, followed by Zimbabwe.

Mgwebi said the army did not cover the borderline between South Africa and Namibia, which stretched over 897km, or the Botswana border, which spanned over 1 561km.

"We've gone back to these borders, but government has seen it fit to take us out, but with the experience of what has been happening when we are out, we are also required to go back."

Mgwebi said that next year, two more companies would be deployed in the North West and the Northern Cape to cover these land borders.

Cases of livestock and vehicle theft had increased across South Africa's borders since 2010. Mgwebi said there had been a particular spike of cross-border theft of chickens.

He said stolen vehicles found leaving the country were mostly headed for Mozambique, and that most dagga confiscation had been on the border between the Free State and Lesotho.

In terms of external deployment, the country was currently involved in operations as part of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Troops were also deployed in the Kruger National Park to combat rhino poaching.

- SAPA

Read more on:    sandf  |  derrick mgwebi  |  mahikeng  |  kimberley  |  botswana  |  zimbabwe  |  bloemfontein  |  mozambique  |  lesotho  |  military
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