Pretoria — The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government has set aside an amount of R48 million to fight cross border crime, Premier Willies Mchunu announced on Tuesday.
Premier Mchunu made the announcement during a visit by President Jacob Zuma in Umhlabuyalingana Local Municipality, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, as part of government's intensified campaign against crime.
The President had received complaints from residents living in the municipalities, which border Swaziland and Mozambique, about high and intolerable levels of cross-border crime of stock theft and car hijackings.
Premier Mchunu said rural communities living in borders are under a huge yoke of poverty and have to bear the burden of stock theft and car hijackings.
He said the problem has heightened tension between South Africans and brothers and sisters from Mozambique, in particular.
He said the role of the police is critical in fighting cross-border crime, but will be enhanced by the cooperation between many other departments across all spheres of government.
The Premier said the President's intervention will strengthen co-operation with different government departments look set to play their role in creating an environment that will result in the eradication of cross-border crime.
While Government pushes for economic integration through free trade, the Premier added that it is unfortunate that the international criminal networks are celebrating as they believe that they will have access to this lucrative market.
"Reports suggest that the criminal groups have gained unlimited access to various trans-national networks using sophisticated technology and in most cases they are assisted by corrupt officials working for government departments and law enforcement agencies.
"There are lucrative criminal enterprises operating in Africa, Europe and Asia who have been, for many years trading in endangered species such as rhino horns, Ivory, abalone, copper, precious wood, precious stones and precious metals.
"In charge of these enterprises - are professional Kingpins who recruit vulnerable unemployed people especially the youth for a variety of illicit activities that generate millions of rands for them," the Premier said.
He said the provincial government is pleased with the support from the department of international relations and co-operation.
"This support will ensure that there is cooperation between law enforcement agencies of neighbouring countries."
Cross-border crime summit
On 12 August 2012, the provincial government convened a cross-border crime summit held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
This summit, which was attended by ministers from neighbouring countries, law enforcement agencies, leaders of society and non-governmental organisations, was convened to canvass views about how to prevent cross-border crime.
It was one of the most important forums that resolved to ensure the co-operation of all stakeholders.