Beitbridge border fence to be taken down , De Lille tells parliament

The controversial Beitbridge fence has been described as a “washing line” for its ineffectiveness in securing the land border.

The border fence between South Africa and Zimbabwe is to be taken down because it isn’t fit for purpose, Public Works and Infrastructure Minister, Patricia de Lille has told the Parliament.

The controversial Beitbridge fence has been described as a “washing line” for its ineffectiveness in securing the land border.

De Lille faced questions about the failed R40m project in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

She said a team was sent to assess the fence in December.

“So, the technical team has discovered that the fence in its current form is not fit for purpose and that it’s non-compliant also with the specifications – and the department’s taken a decision not to entertain any maintenance or repairs to the existing fence. It will also lead to irregular expenditure.”

De Lille said that the site clearance was expected to be completed by June and that the government was looking for a long-term solution to fix South Africa’s porous borders.

“We are looking at BOT (build operate and transfer), we are looking at public-private partnerships because this project of over 3,000 kilometres is quite a big, big, big project.”

She said the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) wanted an order declaring null and void the department’s contracts with the service providers Caledon River Properties CC, Magwa Construction and Profteam and that the matter would be heard by the SIU’s Special Tribunal.

De Lille said 13 officials in her department were facing disciplinary action over their role in the affair.

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