JOHANNESBURG: Civil rights organisation AfriForum has announced it has launched a new initiative to patrol with sniffer dogs at the porous South Africa-Zimbabwe border in Limpopo’s Musina area.
The initiative comes at a time when the government is battling to contain illegal immigration along the Musina-Pafuri borderline where parts of a controversial multi-million rand fence have been damaged.
AfriForum campaigns manager Jacques Broodryk said the initiative was launched following the support the organisation received following the premiere of the Open Borders documentary depicting the poor border control between SA and Zimbabwe and how the organisation’s neighbourhood watches in the area assist to safeguard the community.
Broodryk said two sniffer dogs, Duke and Hailey, have since been donated and were also trained trackers. He said the neighbourhood watch members and the dogs would work closely with law enforcement agencies.
“The smugglers use the areas with dense bushes to cross the border and these sniffer dogs will assist to quickly get on the trail of the smugglers. Duke (the dog) will also help law enforcement during roadblocks because of his specific skills to sniff out firearms and drugs.
“Between June and September of last year alone, AfriForum’s neighbourhood watch in Musina helped to seize smuggled goods with a total value of more than R12 million. This has a substantial impact on the illegal activities and according to information we have received, some of these smugglers have thrown in the towel because of the resilience of our volunteers,” Broodryk said.
When contacted, Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza could not respond to News24’s enquiry. He was contacted again on Saturday and still did not respond.
However, in his budget vote speech, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said immigration was “an elephant in the room” and conceded the problem of porous borders in the country.
“I don’t have to outline what is taking place in our country about this problem. It is a crisis we are all aware of,” Motsoaledi said.
He noted the recruitment of border guards through the Border Management Authority.