Nelspruit — Mpumalanga's Department of Safety, Security and Liaison is implementing an anti-corruption strategy at ports of entry to ensure that police officers do not participate in illegal activities.
"This initiative will continue to be the focus during the 2010/2011 financial year to ensure effective service delivery and the improved integrity of our officials at the ports of entry, through coordinated law enforcement.
"Our mandate is to fight crime and, as we do that, we do not expect law enforcers to be found wanting. Should that happen; we are not going to hesitate in arresting them and ensuring that we hand them the orange uniform. Therefore, all our officials at borders have been vetted and screened," said MEC Sibongile Manana during her Budget Speech recently.
She also announced that infrastructural facilities at ports have been improved and that the Lebombo border post, which links South Africa with Mozambique, would soon boast a new pedestrian facility and by-pass freight routes with canopies.
"This project is already 60 percent complete. The main objective for this overhaul is to ensure that our infrastructure responds to the challenges faced by port officials. We hope the canopies will improve the working conditions at this particular port of entry."
Manana said police officers deployed at Mpumalanga's borders with Mozambique and Swaziland had confiscated 11 illegal firearms, recovered 35 stolen vehicles, seized 243kg of dagga and confiscated 10 900 various illegal articles, including cigarettes, cattle and copper cables during the previous financial year. In total, the police had made 1 030 arrests at borders, she said.
Manana further announced that the SANDF had already started taking control of border safety in the province, as was announced in parliament late last year, and would focus on mobile operations conducted at night.
"It became evident that the deployment of the SAPS to look after the border lines was not yielding the desired results and Operation Corona, as the deployment of the soldiers is called, is now taking place. About 200 SANDF members have been deployed to operate the border lines in the province and the handover of the Macadamia base, phase one of the operation was done from May 9 to 12. Both the advance team and main force have reported for duty."
Troops stationed at the Macadamia base will be responsible for the border area from Mbuzini to the Crocodile River. Those deployed during phase two will police the Sand River in the Kruger National Park, while phase three will involve troops who will focus on the country's border with Swaziland.
"We hope this new development will go a long way in ensuring adequate security on our borders. Meanwhile, the SAPS will continue to operate the ports of entry," Manana said.