Communities asked to help fight cross-border crime

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pretoria - Residents living near the country's borders need to be mobilised to help authorities fight crime, says Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu.

Speaking at a crime prevention operation at the Mount Fletcher and Maluti Borders in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, Sotyu said while government was doing its bit, communities along the borders should also weigh in.

"Deploying soldiers and police along our borders is not enough to fight against cross-border crime. Crime is a scourge that does not respect borders, with syndicates that have made the entire globe the theatre of their operations," she added.

Government was working with countries such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique on all developmental projects, including addressing illegal border crossing and illegal immigration, the minister noted. 

Government was also improving borderline control by weeding out corruption officials, who contributed to illegal immigration by providing fraudulent documentation.

"We must also mobilise communities living along borders to work with the law enforcement on both sides of the borders to help curb crime," she said.

The minister also noted that stock theft had dramatically increased in parts of the country, particularly along the border of Lesotho.

The police's Rural Safety Programme was aimed at ensuring the safety of rural communities.

Government was not only concerned with the safety of farmers but also that of farm dwellers and rural communities with stock, especially those situated near border with other countries, Sotyu said.

She urged Mount Fletcher residents to consider putting together community patrols.
The minister noted that some of the major challenges people in the area faced included high levels of violent crime, stock theft, illegal border crossing and related border crimes.

Sotyu called on the communities to report illegal shebeens and taverns to the authorities so that they could be closed down.

"Taverns and shebeens that are found next to schools and churches must be closed. We all know that excessive [use] and abuse of alcohol increase social ills of domestic abuse, violence, drinking-and-driving and aggression... It is not enough to just regulate laws that would prohibit selling liquor on Sundays," she added.

The religious fraternity had a role to play in helping government rebuild the moral fibre of our society, while parents needed to play an active role is raising their children, the minister commented. - BuaNews