Un­re­solved bor­der dis­pute ‘cost­ing jobs’

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

THE MIN­IS­TER of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Lindiwe Sisulu, has been called on to speed up ne­go­ti­a­tions re­lat­ing to the un­re­solved Or­ange River bound­ary is­sue be­tween South Africa and Namibia, fol­low­ing fears that the North­ern Cape could be los­ing out on valu­able di­a­mond de­posits.

The DA in the North­ern Cape yes­ter­day made the call to Sisulu af­ter the party raised con­cerns that Namibia might not be honour­ing the in­ter­na­tional north­ern bor­der line and could end up min­ing di­a­monds off the west coast seabed in di­a­mond-rich wa­ters of the North­ern Cape prov­ince, while South Africa “know­ingly turned a blind eye”.

“If the re­cent con­cerns raised are valid, it means that our coun­try and the North­ern Cape will be los­ing out on mil­lions of rand worth of rev­enue,” DA pro­vin­cial leader, An­drew Louw, said yes­ter­day.

Louw added that the mat­ter dated back to a pre-1994 dis­pute in re­spect of South Africa’s north­ern bor­der with Namibia, “which un­til to­day re­mained in­con­clu­sive”.

“In a par­lia­men­tary re­ply, dated Septem­ber 14 2018, Sisulu in­di­cated that the two coun­tries con­tin­ued to en­gage with the view to re­solve the mat­ter. She stated that in April 2013 the two coun­tries es­tab­lished a Joint Com­mit­tee of Ex­perts which sub­se­quently sub­mit­ted its fi­nal re­port to the two gov­ern­ments. It seems that lit­tle has been done since then,” Louw said.

He added that at a time when un­em­ploy­ment and poverty was at an all-time high, gov­ern­ment’s “laid back ap­proach” to the bound­ary is­sue could be cost­ing jobs.

“This is yet an­other ex­am­ple of how South Africa needs to tighten its bor­der con­trol, both on land and off­shore. The DA will write to Min­is­ter Sisulu, ask­ing that gov­ern­ment ac­tively ac­cel­er­ate a res­o­lu­tion to the bound­ary dis­pute.

“Off­shore min­eral re­sources could of­fer a life­line to Na­maqua­land, whose econ­omy is largely de­pen­dent on di­a­monds,” Louw con­cluded.

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