samedi, 25 novembre 2017
 

Communist Party of Swaziland calls on SA not to electrify part of SA-Swazi border, but to pursue enlightened frontier policy

«  The Communist Party of Swaziland is concerned at recent reports that the Department of Community Safety and Liaison in Kwa-Zulu Natal is considering erecting electric fencing along the border with Swaziland in the northeast of the province.

The proposal comes in response to escalating cross-border crime, which includes cigarette and other contraband smuggling, illegal immigration, stock theft, and robberies. The use of electrified fencing, which was set at lethal voltage levels, along various parts of the SA border with its neighbours was a notorious practice of the apartheid regime in its low-intensity war against the liberation movement.

The CPS hopes that the KZN provincial government will understand that most of the cross-border crime into SA from Swaziland is due to the dire levels of poverty in our country.

There is also a problem of organised crime involvement in lucrative people trafficking that reaches right to the top of the Swazi autocracy – and this needs special attention by SA at national level. But the vast majority of low threshold cross-border “criminal” activity comes in the form of illegal border crossings by young Swazis seeking better education and other opportunities, which are denied to them in autocratic Swaziland.

People, including the elderly, also cross to use health clinics in SA, often for HIV and TB treatment, as such public clinics and services are largely moribund in Swaziland – again, as a result of the refusal of the Mswati regime to invest in public health.

It is expensive for Swazis to get the necessary permits to cross the border, especially since the Mswati regime has hiked the costs of documents in its attempt to squeeze more cash from the impoverished population.

The existence of the brutal dictatorship and criminal impoverishment of the Swazi people is the direct cause of cross-border crime into SA. While the CPS recognises that this does help the KZN government deal with the problems it faces in terms of border security, and that such things as smuggling in all its forms must be tackled, it is nevertheless important to avoid inhumane ways of enforcing border control.

The CPS feels that a more proactive and engaged effort by South Africa to put an end to Swaziland’s status as a failed state– and skunk of the world – would eventually result in inter-state relations of real benefit to our two countries, including a peaceful and secure border.

As long as the desperate Mswati regime is allowed to endure in Swaziland, and freedom and democracy remain outlawed, the country is increasingly likely to become a volatile hot spot and point of mass exodus into South Africa.

The border problem reflects the humanitarian crisis in our country. This will undoubtedly escalate.

The immediate answer is not to corral Swaziland with electric wire and hope that the problem will go away. Rather, it is crucial to increase assistive border services, pursue enlightened asylum and reception policies for refugees and migrants, and recognise and respond to – with coordinated international support – the growing dependence of Swazis on SA health, education and other services.

The Mswati regime is not merely a threat and source of trouble to people in Swaziland, but to South Africa as a whole. The border problem is a direct manifestation of this.

Kenneth Kunene, CPS General Secretary

 
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