The time has come for the citizens of Lesotho and South Africa to take hands and act against criminals surreptitiously crossing the border between the two countries.
This was according to Francois Wilken, president of Free State Agriculture (FSA), following a recent meeting between representatives of both countries on the matter.
The meeting was held in Zastron and attended by FSA, Sam Mashinini (Free State MEC of Police, Roads and Transport), farmers from both sides of the border, both countries’ police services and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
According to Wilken, South African and Lesotho farmers regularly experienced crimes such as stock theft, theft of farm items and equipment and other related crimes, especially on the southern part of the border in the Klaarwater region.
“I implore every person who falls prey to these criminals to report all incidents to the police on both sides. If they do not, how can the extent of the problem ever be determined?
“The reporting of these crimes is of the utmost importance in the effort to put a stop to these crimes and criminals,” he told Farmer’s Weekly.
He added that it was high time that the South African Police Service, the SANDF and the agricultural community came together to draw up a formal document that clearly outlined every entity’s specific responsibilities in this regard.
At the moment, the issue of crime prevention on the border was a “confused affair”, exacerbated by the uncertainty about each party’s responsibilities. Wilken added that FSA would urgently address this matter.
At the meeting, the Lesotho contingent mentioned the illegal employment of Lesotho citizens on South African farms as a challenge, and claims were made about the unfair treatment of these labourers.
“This is an example of the issues that need to be reported to the safety and security structures. If they and the relevant government departments are not aware thereof, they can hardly be expected to act against the perpetrators,” said Wilken.