As a few politicians have found out in recent times, building an effective wall or fence isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The border between South Africa and Zimbabwe has long been an altogether too easy smuggling point for decades, and as our country went into lockdown last month, officials raced to construct a more effective border fence.
Costing a cool R37 million, the fence, found around Beitbridge, has already become a laughing stock and has failed dismally to curb the influx of people and illegal trade.
The Sunday Times recently visited, and their report is both worrying and embarrassing:
“This is not a fence,” laughed Busani Sibanda, moments after crossing the Limpopo River into SA.
“This thing doesn’t even take me five minutes to cut through. We make big holes so we can get suitcases with cigarettes through and small ones so we can get people and groceries through.”
Soldiers who patrol the fence admit they are fighting a losing battle trying to stem the flow of people across the border.
So far the department of public works has paid R21m to Magwa Construction for the 40km fence. At 1.8m high, it consists of six rolls of coiled razor wire and a razor wire grid.
40 kilometres for R37 million – roughly R1 million per kilometre, which appears to have been a total waste of money.
Here’s the video feature that accompanied the Sunday Times story: