The Lesotho border with the Free State is the Wild East of SA

Issued by Roy Jankielsohn – DA Free State Premier Candidate
11 Apr 2024 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Roy Jankielsohn MPL and Sesotho soundbite by Jafta Mokoena MPL. Images of Roy Jankielsohn MPL and David Van Vuuren MPL at the border can be found here, here and here.

An oversight inspection conducted in the Southeast Free State, outside Wepener, revealed how shocking the situation is on the borders along the boundaries of the Free State that divide South Africa and Lesotho.

The only evidence of a border is a single steel pole and no fence. The area is known to be a hotspot for Lesotho nationals crossing into South Africa illegally and stolen vehicles and livestock crossing into Lesotho, which poses a massive threat to the local community as well as farmers in the area who are regular victims of cross-border crime.

These crimes include arson, illegal grazing with biological risks, farm attacks, livestock theft, vehicle theft and drug trafficking. Other illegal activities include taxi violence and intimidation that are allegedly also perpetrated by syndicates from Lesotho.

While at the border, it was evident that police presence was non-existent, leaving the door open for international criminal syndicates dealing in drugs and other illicit operations to work freely between South Africa and Lesotho.

It has also been alleged that the SANDF and SAPS units stationed in the area are actively involved in supporting crime syndicates rather than focusing on protecting the border and local communities, including supporting prostitution rings operating in the area.

This failure is not limited to the protection of the border itself but also the local economic development and agricultural sector that brings many jobs to the Free State economy.

The first priority of the government is to protect the lives of residents and their livelihoods. In this regard, the ANC-run government has completely failed the people of Wepener and all communities on the Lesotho border and the province.

Residents must use the opportunity given to them on 29 May to vote for a government with a track record of good governance and the willingness to put the needs of residents first.