Times of Eswatini

Why Eswatini’s borders porous


MBABANE – As Eswatini is slated for its porous borders, it has transpired that, in fact, the borderline separating the kingdom with South Africa has kilometres of gaps.

In past weeks, there has been bloodshed along the borders, as border guards controlled people who were taking advantage of the gaps and informal crossing points, allegedly to commit crimes.

Residents living along the broken and perforated border fence have lamented how the gaps have become an enabler for car smuggling, cattle rustling, illegal immigratio­n and trade in contraband.

One such area is Lundzi, where residents said for 30 years, they had been without border lines separating the kingdom with SA.


They say the border has not been repaired despite that it was reported to government.

Because of this, the residents of the area have been experienci­ng crime on a daily basis. Mhlambanya­tsi Inkhundla Member of Parliament (MP), PetrosMavi­mbela said the issue was not only affecting the Mhlambanya­tsi residents but the country at large. “But first of all, our cattle are stolen anyhow and driven to South Africa. The criminals come in and empty farmers’ kraals. If we had the fence, this wouldn’t be happening,”said Mavimbela. The Mhlambanya­tsi MP also stated that there were high chances of people being trafficked to South Africa.

He then raised a concern that people were moving in and out of country using unmonitore­d illegal crossings.

He said it was better in the past, as the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) was monitoring the borderline. “Things have changed now because people don’t see the need of seeking permission from the soldiers to move in and out of the country.

This increases the chances of human traffickin­g,” he narrated.

Mavimbela also mentioned other crimes, such as car smuggling as common crimes. He said according to the law, people are supposed to pass through the official border gates if they want to move in and out of Eswatini. “All those who don’t have proper travelling documents use the informal crossings, which is wrong,” he said.


Mavimbela also stated that about over 1 000 livestock, estimated to be over E1 million had been stolen within the area in the past years.

He said they reported the matter to government, regarding the challenges they faced.

He said some of the thieves were also smuggling drugs along the Lundzi border. Mavimbela pleaded with government to act fast in ensuring that the border fence was restored.

McolisiNgo­zo, who is the Bucopho of Lundzi echoed on Mavimbela’s words and said not having the border fence had affected them immensely.

He said the lack of fencing had undermined peace within the communitie­s. He then pleaded with those in authority to act fast on the matter, which seemed to be getting out of hand. Despite these challenges, Ngozo said some children went to school in South Africa using the informal crossings.

He said some residents travelled to South Africa to buy groceries, using the fenceless crossing points, while others used same to access health centres.

Some residents lamented about thieves that went to people’s houses and stole household goods and vanished into the neighbouri­ng state easily.

 ?? (Pics Mthunzi Mdluli) ?? This is a route from Lundzi to South Africa where there is no borderline.
(Pics Mthunzi Mdluli) This is a route from Lundzi to South Africa where there is no borderline.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Eswatini