South Africa is stepping up its efforts to secure its borders. They have started work on their most porous boundary, the one they share with Zimbabwe.
The effort to secure its borders comes as South Africa is fighting the spread off corona virus. The need to secure the borders was as a result of concerns raised that Zimbabweans might flock to South Africa if the disease becomes uncontrollable in Zimbabwe. The distance to be covered by the works is 40 kilo metres.
The company contracted to erect the wall was appointed on Wednesday and they are now working on the site Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille said on Thursday.
“In terms of Section 27 (2) (l) of the Disaster Management Act, No 57 of 2002, I have invoked emergency procurement procedures in relation to the erection and repairs of the border fences, east and west of the Beitbridge border post,” De Lille said.
The great migration to South Africa in 2008
South Africa saw a huge influx of Zimbabweans crossing the Limpopo in 2008 as Zimbabwe experienced its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980. There were acute shortages of food and a significant portion of people were dying sue to malnutrition related diseases. Inflation had reached its all time high and the problems were further worsened by political violence that was perpetrated by ZANU PF in response to their loss in the March 2008 harmonized elections.
Responsibility rests with South Africa
Zimbabwe does not make any efforts to secure its border with South Africa as there is little risk for Zimbabwe to worry about, at least for now. South Africa’s economy has been better than that of Zimbabwe for the last 2 decades hence no incentive for South Africans to illegally migrate to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe turns a blind eye to the Beitbridge boundary but is only worried about the collection of revenue at the Beitbridge border post. Zimbabwe’s main trading partner is South Africa. Most goods smuggled into Zimbabwe comes through the Beitbridge border post.
Other efforts to combat corona virus
South Africa is making a lot of efforts to combat corona virus. The government declared Corona Virus a State of National Disaster which enabled them to dip their hands into funds that are meant to combat disasters.
One of the measures is to close 34 of its 72 points of entry. However they opted not to close their Beitbridge border that they share with Zimbabwe as they deemed it a gateway to the rest of Africa. Beitbridge border post links South Africa with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo among other African countries.