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2022-11-12 at 19:25 #382424Nat QuinnKeymaster
Following a recent visit to the Zastron, Klaarwater, Boesmankop and Spring Valley areas in the southern Free State, she said it was becoming virtually impossible for these farmers to continue farming due to rampant stock theft, theft of infrastructure, and violent crimes such as farm attacks and even murder.
This particular part of the border region was being hit hard by criminals from across the border because of, among other reasons, the lack of traversable roads and cell phone services, said Buys.
“Even the members of the South African Defense Force (SANDF) deployed along the border is finding it impossible to carry out patrols because stretches of the roads have been allowed to go to rack and ruin by the Department of Public Works.
“For example, the destruction of the 18km [stretch of road] between Klaarwater and Spring Valley has created an open gateway for criminals to cross and recross the border as they wish. Spring Valley has been known as an illegal crossing point for years,” she told Farmer’s Weekly.
According to Buys, all farmers were falling prey to criminality from Lesotho. Some land reform beneficiaries on the border had even sold their farms because they found it impossible to continue farming under such circumstances.
She said all FSA’s efforts to get the impassable roads along the border rebuilt by the Department of Public Works had to date come to naught.
READ ‘Farmers on Lesotho border left abandoned by security forces’
Even efforts by Agri SA to address the matter on a national level had proven to be unsuccessful. Such impassable roads were evident in most of the 13 local municipalities in the border region, and was resulting in “far above average incidences of stock theft, for example”.
“We nonetheless remain committed to solving the problem, and will renew our efforts to get government to address the matter. Even if we have to take our plight to the Office of the President. The roads are in such a state that they have become untraversable by even 4-track vehicles,” Buys stressed.
Friedl von Maltitz, a farmer near Ficksburg, said the situation in his district did not differ much from Zastron. According, to him the theft of sheep and cattle had increased significantly since the ban on the transportation of cloven-hooved cattle was lifted, following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Free State.
Rampant crime in Lesotho-border region takes its toll on farmers (farmersweekly.co.za)
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