Free State farmers met with the police, army and border authorities in another desperate attempt to clamp down on crime in the southern part of the province bordering with Lesotho.
Nov. 7, 2022
FOOD FOR MZANSI
2 min read
Fix ‘getaway road’ to curb Lesotho livestock thieves
A porous land border between the Free State and Lesotho is not only an illegal immigration and smuggling problem, but it is also a getaway route for livestock thieves. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
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Free State farmers have, again, called on government to prioritise the rehabilitation of a 20-kilometre road near the southern Lesotho border area.
This, they say, will go a long way in clamping down on crime that affects the safety of farmers, workers and their families.
Recently, Free State Agriculture (FSA) met with both small-scale and commercial farmers who are being targeted by cross border criminality. Also present were members of the police, the army and the Border Management Authority (BMA).
Jakkals le Roux, chairperson of FSA’s rural safety committee, says they have made several requests regarding the dilapidated road to government and MECs of roads, transport and police in the past three to four years. The road needs to be passable for law enforcement officials to provide the necessary border protection and also launch preventive operations.
“This has by no means materialized, and the activities of the department of public works to erect a border road and fence have by no means gotten off the ground,” says Le Roux.
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Farmers in the Klaarwater, Spring Valley and Boesmanskop areas along the southern Lesotho border are “beyond despondent” as this area has become a transit route for suspected stolen goods and especially livestock to Lesotho.
The impassable border road on which operations and patrols by the army, police, BMA and farmers must take place cannot materialize.
“We want to highlight the plight of these forgotten communities and the failure of the government’s constitutional obligation towards rural areas and farming communities,” says Le Roux.
A University of the Free State researcher, Willem Lombard, earlier found that the total annual cost of livestock theft in the Free State was estimated at nearly R183 million. His research also concluded that farmers near the Lesotho border experience stock theft on a more regular basis than the rest of the province.