Defence Minister visiting borders
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is currently visiting South Africa's borders as part of a fact-finding mission. The minister's first stop was scheduled to be Mbuzini, a village in Mpumalanga on the borders with Mozambique and Swaziland. According to a report in the Lowvelder, there are areas near Mbuzini where the border fence is non-existent, and people and vehicles cross through illegally. SANDF Capt Lwazi Malgas told the Lowvelder last month that there is a high volume of stolen vehicles and illicit goods that cross the borders in the area. Earlier this year officials seized R90 000 worth of cigarettes hidden in vegetation off the Mbuzini main road, according to the defence force. SA National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesperson Colonel Ronald Maseko said Mapisa-Nqakula will be visiting Echo Stations (guard posts) one through eight along the border and will speak to soldiers on border protection duty was well as community members in the area and discuss their concerns about smuggling syndicates. Maseko said the minister is accompanied by a large delegation included members from the Joint Operations Division, Tactical Headquarters and Department of Defence. She is expected back on Friday.
The South African Army is due to commence a border-safety project to combat transnational crimes on 12 May in conjunction with the South African Police Service, Department of Home Affairs, correctional services, tribal authorities, the Mpumalanga department of community safety and Nkomazi Local Municipality.