KwaZuluNatal – Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya says there must be stricter control at the informal Gate 6 border post situated in Manguzi in KwaZulu-Natal.
Deputy Minister Siweya visited the border post on Friday to monitor the situation after concerns were raised that the area is not monitored properly and that it is used by criminals to smuggle stolen vehicles and other goods into neighbouring Mozambique.
Gate 6, as it is widely known, is a trading spot for vendors from South Africa and Mozambique and has been earmarked for the establishment of the community crossing point to smooth the movement of community members to cross the international border for family visits without having to travel to a port of entry.
Many in these communities need to cross the borderline on a weekly, or even daily basis to study, work, shop and visit family members.
School children apparently cross the area to go to school and it is believed that on Wednesdays and Saturdays residents from South Africa and Mozambique come together to trade their goods at Gate 6. Mini-bus taxis bring people with their goods who then sell them at the gate.
The idea of a community crossing point was borne out of discussions between South Africa and various neighbouring countries as a mechanism to facilitate movement of travellers from communities that straddle two countries where a port of entry would be at a further distance.
“There should be strict control here and people should be documented and processed when using the gate,” Siweya said during her visit to the area on Friday morning.
“Government must intervene, the South African Revenue Services officials must be involved to ensure that the goods that are sold here are regulated, they must work hand in hand with members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) assisted by the South African Police Service (SAPS),” Siweya said.
“The people of Mozambique and South Africa are one, they visit each other, but must be documented so we know who they are and who is in the country,” Siweya said.
She added that traders must be assisted to legalise their trade.
Prior to visiting the border gate, Siweya visited the local Chief of Manguzi for a short discussion and thereafter the delegation proceeded to Gate 6.
A local resident, who regularly uses Gate 6, France Nkabinde, told media that the gate should be monitored properly to prevent criminals from entering South Africa illegally.
“Currently we are sitting with a problem of criminals who come and steal here and smuggle the goods into Mozambique,” Nkabinde said.
Sizakele Simelane said she was worried about undocumented people committing crimes in South Africa and not being traceable.
The Deputy Minister, accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal Provincial government municipal officials, SAPS and SARS officials, then proceeded to visit the Kosi Bay Border Gate to monitor the work done there.
Siweya and her entourage were briefed about the daily operations.
One of those who were travelling to Mozambique from South Africa, Micheal Dhodee, told media that he is happy with the manner in which the officials are processing their documents.
“I am happy with the way the officials are working, the queues are fast,” Dhodee said.
SANDF members are directly involved in the border control management and the patrols along the whole of the Mozambique border.