Free State MEC for police, roads and transport Sam Mashinini met with various stakeholders from Lesotho and South Africa to deal with the influx of illegal Lesotho residents entering the Klaarwater area.
The role players included the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), the South African Police Service (SAPS), local farming communities as well as Lesotho stakeholders.
“The illegal influx has been going on almost daily for the past decade and has not decreased at all during the lockdown period,” says Francois Wilken, president of Free State Agriculture (FSA).
According to Wilken, Mashinini assured stakeholders that the border road on the South African side will be patrolled by forces from both the SANDF and SAPS, and will also be swifter when responding to reports of illegal entrants into Klaarwater.
The gates through which Lesotho residents illegally enter will also be better manned and controlled.
“The improvement of the border road will bring about better visibility which can result in a reduction in criminal activities,” says Wilken. “This will have a significant impact on improved safety of agricultural communities in the area.”
Mashinini has also emphasised that those entering from Lesotho must ensure they have all necessary permits and contracts from farmers so that the Basic Conditions of Employment Act is complied with. He adds that Lesotho residents may not cross the border except through an official border post.
Free State Agriculture has requested that better co-operation take place between South Africa and Lesotho, as a number of syndicates have also been operating on either side of the border.
“We urge agricultural communities to report all crimes and bring them to the attention of the SAPS, which will also plan and launch joint crime operations in the area with the SANDF,” Wilken says.