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Lesotho-South Africa Fence

Leon Engelbrecht notes that "The borderline fence between Lesotho and South Africa has fallen into such disrepair as not to exist in many parts. Two Democratic Alliance Members of Parliament have conducted an inspection on the state of the border in the Golden Gate-Clarens-Fouriesburg area and found that the "borderline fence does not for all practical purposes exist with large parts of the fence and many fence poles having been stolen." Jonathan Crush wrote "The river crossings for the most part connect Free State farms with Lesotho villages, and most illegal crossings take place where there is not a formal border post for a considerable distance, such as between Maseru and Van Rooyens Gate. Border fencing, where it has not been completely destroyed, has no practical effect on crime or unauthorized crossing.... it is extremely difficult to prevent Basotho who have been crossing the river without documentation for generations from doing so now. They are aware, conversely, that the permit system can serve positively as a legal protection, as it prevents farmers who employ Basotho without permits from simply having them arrested and deported when the time comes to pay them their small wages. There is simply no way to prevent the daily casual use of the informal river and fence crossings visible every few hundred metres along the entire length of the Free State - Lesotho border." "Among various challenges that are faced by South African farmers in general, stock theft is still one of the biggest challenges for livestock farmers. While it affects all provinces and is a priority crime in most provinces except Gauteng, it is a much more serious threat in regions that are bordering other countries (cross-border stock theft) e.g. some areas of the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Stock theft is not new, and some even consider it to be as old as farming itself. However, cross-border stock theft is said to have intensified in the 1990's and became more widespread, organised and violent. "A visit by two Members of Parliament (in their own capacity) to the South Africa-Lesotho and the South Africa-Zimbabwe borders in July 2009 confirmed the poor state of security in the borders. In the South Africa-Lesotho border, the MPs found that large parts of the border fence and fence poles were stolen; there were about 30 police officers to protect 130 km of landward border and the Police Stock Theft Unit only had three police officers and 13 vacancies. In a Cross-Border Crime Summit that was held in Maluti in 2005, the livestock owners, traditional leaders and community safety and security district liaison committee members accused the police and army members patrolling the South Africa-Lesotho border of doing a sub-standard job, lack of discipline and even running kangaroo courts."



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