New life for Umhlabuyalingana

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pretoria - Government has hit the ground running this financial year, promising to eradicate crime and poor levels of development in northern KwaZulu-Natal. 

President Jacob Zuma visited uMhlabuyalingana in March this year, where community members complained about cross border crime, particularly stock and vehicle theft. The area lies between the border of Mozambique and South Africa.

Government, through the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Cross-border Crime, has been hard at work trying to curb these crimes and address the concerns of the community.

On Thursday, President Zuma used his Freedom Day speech to give the community a progress report on the work of government in the area.

Government has set aside R92 million for the renovation of the Manguzi police station, which was dilapidated, with inadequate personnel and resources to handle the matters arising from the communities.

“Already, painting and other minor refurbishments are being undertaken so that the police can work in a more conducive environment,” said President Zuma to a cheering crowd.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has supplied the police station with vehicles to enable faster responses when crimes are being committed.

“The police station has also been upgraded to a level of a colonel and measures have begun to fill 44 vacant posts.”

Government, through the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and SAPS on the border, have begun to collaborate on efforts to defeat cross-border crime.

The community had raised a concern that there was little collaboration between the two and criminals were taking advantage of this lack of coordination.

President Zuma said the SANDF has also increased the deployments along the border to prevent cross border car thefts, with the support of the community.

“Without your support, very little progress will be made,” said the President.

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services is in discussions with network operators Vodacom and MTN, about improving network reception in this area. This will help in the fight against crime, as police indicated that poor network reception near the border hinders their work in tracking stolen cars.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation for its part will coordinate discussions between the security cluster in South Africa and their Mozambican counterparts on cross-border crime and also illegal migration issues.

 To ensure that local people do not travel long distances to Ubombo to obtain court services, government is investigating the possibility of opening uMkhanyakude North magisterial district that will cover the Jozini and uMhlabuyalingana local municipalities.

To assist in addressing water supply challenges in the area, the Department of Water and Sanitation is implementing two projects -- the Kwazibi Water Supply Project and Greater Mseleni Water Supply scheme.

Once both schemes are completed, they will supply more than 300 000 households with safe potable water.

 The Department of Environmental Affairs nationally is also on board and working with the province to address the transformation issues and other matters that the community raised about the Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

With regards to complaints about the late registration of births, these have been followed up and the Department of Home Affairs has been running outreach programmes to register South African children in the district.

The Departments of Social Development, Home Affairs as well as SASSA will host further integrated registration of beneficiaries for social grants in this area.

Government has also conducted door-to-door campaigns to educate the community on Albinism.

This follows the horrific murder of Thandazile Mpunzi in 2015. President Zuma committed that police would do everything possible to track down those who attack people with Albinism.  

Community members and representatives in the area say they are seeing progress.

President Zuma said government wants to “see an end to vicious attacks on women and children, the house break-ins, cash-in transit heists, car hijackings, stock theft and other crimes that make life difficult for our people.”

This in line with the theme of the celebrations which was ‘The year of OR Tambo: Together deepening democracy and building safer and crime-free communities’. –


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