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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.


By unknown | Sep 17, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Themba Molefe

Themba Molefe

"I can no longer cope. I no apprehend them. They keep coming."

Game farmer Freddie Crossberg of Beit Bridge in Limpopo was candid about the gravity of the situation at the South Africa-Zimbabwe border.

Crossberg said that between 300 and 400 illegal Zimbabweans pass through his property every night.

"They do not care whether they are arrested or not. They are starving and all they ask for is food," said Crossberg.

He said many of the farmers along the Beit Bridge border were trying in many ways to help the Zimbabweans fleeing a country facing an economic meltdown.

Crossberg is one of the farmers who have organised themselves into commandos to help patrol the border and apprehend the Zimbabweans who have entered the country and trespassed on their properties. But instead of being contained the influx keeps escalating.

He said he was among farmers who had stopped apprehending the Zimbabweans as they flow into the country.

Initially the fence, which covered a perimeter stretching about 50km, was electrified but has since been switched off.

"They keep cutting the fence despite our concerted efforts to repair it," Crossberg said.

"This is what happens: You put them on the train and deport them, only for them to land back on your farm sooner than you think"

"From around June last year it got worse. We were arresting about 1000 people every night.

"That put a lot of strain on us in terms of resources and time," said Crossberg.

He said that some of the people the farmers had handed over to the police returned to his farm in a matter of days or weeks.

Significantly, Crossberg said he wanted to dispel the notion that it was the desperate Zimbabweans who were responsible for the escalaion of crime in the Beit Bridge and Musina areas.

"I also own a security company which informs me that cable theft had become common in the area. But police say they blame the locals and not Zimbabweans," Crossberg said.

And the woman behind the fence: Remember her, featured in Part One of our Zimbabwe series? She was taken to a small transit army base to join a group that was caught not so long before her.


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