Stolen fence at army base gives neighbouring farmers sleepless nights

Defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has confirmed that a portion of a fence at the the 6 South African Infantry Battalion training area in Grahamstown has been stolen.
Defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has confirmed that a portion of a fence at the the 6 South African Infantry Battalion training area in Grahamstown has been stolen.
Image: Getty Images

The theft of a fence at an army base in Makhanda is giving local farmers a headache.

The 6 SA Infantry Battalion training area is now being used by illegal hunters and livestock thieves, say the farmers.

This was confirmed by defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in her reply to a parliamentary question from DA MP Annette Steyn. Mapisa-Nqakula said the eastern part of the fence at the training area had been stolen.

“A project was registered and sent out for tender via the department of public works and infrastructure ... but the process was placed on hold by (the department) due to insufficient funding,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

The minister said her department is aware of the farmers’ concerns.

“The SA Army is aware of complaints by farmers adjacent to the ... training area, centred on stock theft and illegal poaching, exacerbated by the absent perimeter fence, and has reported this to the SANDF,” she said.

“The defence works formation is co-ordinating the restoration of the absent perimeter fence with the provincial department of public works and infrastructure, on behalf of the department of defence.”

Meanwhile, “static and roving guards from (the base) are in place and patrolling the vast training area”.

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