Mixed reaction to construction of Jersey barrier walls on border of Mozambique and SA

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Umkhanyakude District Municipality Mayor at the Jersey barrier walls. Picture: Supplied

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Umkhanyakude District Municipality Mayor at the Jersey barrier walls. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 25, 2024


Political parties have given a mixed reaction to the construction of Jersey barrier walls on the SA-Mozambique border.

This after KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube last week paid a visit to the site in Manguzi, Umkhanyakude District Municipality, in Northern KZN and commended progress on the walls.

Dube-Ncube said the Jersey barrier walls project, which covers about 25km of the vulnerable border line, was initiated by the KwaZulu-Natal government in 2018 as part of a basket of interventions to fight crime in this area.

“The project, mainly conceived to prevent easy egress for stolen vehicles and livestock, is being implemented in three phases.

“We noted good progress in the construction of the phase that cuts through Gate 6, one of the hotspot segments of the border line, she said.

“The concrete slab foundation to conclude this phase has been laid and we are confident that the construction will move quicker. We have directed the Department of Transport to fast track the raising of the walls.”

Dube Ncube said that the provincial government is working with its social partners to break the back of criminal syndicates that terrorise the communities along the borderline.

“As we announced during the State of the Province Address, the government is also pursuing diplomatic channels to co-ordinate strategic efforts to fight cross border crime.”

"We are working closely with the newly established Border Management Authority, the SAPS Specialized KZN Stabilising Team, Amakhosi and other crime fighting structures to address issues of criminality in the area,“ she said.

“The interventions are already yielding positive results as several high-profile criminals have been arrested and are facing prosecution.

“Already several cars have been found stuck and abandoned, some hanging on the Jersey barriers because syndicates could not take them across to Mozambique because of the high border walls.”

ActionSA's KwaZulu-Natal leader, Zwakele Mncwango, said he appreciates the Jersey barrier walls as a step in the right direction but he is concerned about the number of illegal immigrants in KZN.

“We welcome the construction of the Jersey barrier walls, the issue however is that we have so many undocumented foreigners who operate businesses and are involved in crime in KZN.

“Where is the action to say that something is going to be done about this and steps taken to deport undocumented foreigners?”

Mncwango said if foreigners are coming to South Africa they must have all the relevant documents. “We need to have proper documents and need to know why they are staying in South Africa. In the end if it has to benefit our country whether it's in the form of tourism or the economy in the form of business.”

Blessed Gwala, IFP Leader of the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, said that they will call for a more detailed response on the Jersey barrier walls.

“The new Jersey project, awarded to a joint venture between ISF Construction and Shula Construction in August 2018, has seen little progress on-site to date.”

Gwala said Premier Dube-Ncube, together with the KZN MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, must provide clarity on this project, which has been clouded in secrecy.

The Mercury