/ 19 February 2012

Radebe promises better border control to combat crime

The government is intensifying efforts to improve border management in an attempt to deal with cross-border crime syndicates and to curb poaching, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Sunday

“In that regard we will be deploying a further four military companies on the Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho borders as of April 2012 bringing the total number of companies to seven,” he said. A military company consists of 150 soldiers.

“The deployment includes army engineers who are conducting repairs and maintenance on the Zimbabwe/Mozambique border fence which is approximately 140km,” said Radebe.

He was speaking at a justice, crime prevention and security cluster briefing on strategic and tactical interventions developed to improve public safety, in line with President Jacob Zuma’s commitment in his state of the nation address.

Radebe also spoke about the Protection of State Information Bill.

Once passed into law, it would promote transparency and accountability in governance at the same time ensuring that state information would be protected from disclosure to safeguard national interests, he said.

“It is important to note that [government] officials who manipulate the classification of state information to hide corrupt activities will themselves be guilty of a criminal offence and will be dealt with harshly in terms of this proposed legislation.”

Radebe said that last year 192 officials in the cluster — which consists of the police, home affairs, defence, justice and correctional services department — were criminally charged with corruption and 86 of them were convicted. He said 296 were put through departmental disciplinary processes for misconduct.

Speaking at the same briefing, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said operation of the 10111 police emergency number was being reviewed.

He said the police were also focusing on increasing cooperation with police services in the Southern African Development Community region and within Interpol to fight cyber-crime. — Sapa