Is this really a border fence? Must we, as citizens be so proud of this kind of border fence and paid millions of this so-called fence? And for what purpose was this border? The Public works minister Patricia de Lille said that the army has been sent to the Beitbridge border fence after reports that it had been damaged. Is this the joke of the year – yes, indeed. A picture circulating showed the barbed wire fence had been cut through, with a gaping hole now clearly visible in the fence, which separates SA and Zimbabwe.
In a series of tweets, De Lille acknowledged that the fence had been damaged — and promised that action would be taken. “With regard to the Beitbridge border fence which DPWI [department of public works and infrastructure] is erecting and criminal elements damaging the fence: I am investigating this matter. The contractor has increased security personnel. The Defence Force has also deployed soldiers to patrol the border,” she said.
“This was a project by DPWI to secure the borders and repair and replace the fence which has been badly damaged. I have requested that the department of defence increase security measures as reinforcement to protect our borders especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“For the Beitbridge border fence, we are also considering additional deterring methods such as surveillance, sensors and alarms,” she said.
Less than a month ago, on March 20, De Lille announced that a 40km border fence would be built, as part of measures to keep foreign nationals out of SA and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The fence would cost, all-in, just over R37m. De Lille said the 1.8m-high fence would span 20km on each side of the border post separating SA from Zimbabwe.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, government is to erect a 40km fence within a month at the Beitbridge border to ensure that no undocumented or infected persons cross the border into South Africa from Zimbabwe and vice versa. Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille made the announcement at a media briefing in Cape Town on Thursday.
“In terms of Section 27 (2) (I) of the Disaster Management Act … I have invoked emergency procurement procedures in relation to the erection and repairs of the border fences, east and west of the Beitbridge Border Post,” she said.
De Lille said the fence was in line with a raft of interventions announced by the President on Sunday when he declared the Coronavirus pandemic a national disaster. He directed that South Africa’s borders and ports be secured with immediate effect.
“The President stated that 35 of the 53 land entry points will be closed. This measure will, however, not be effective if the fences at the border are not secure, which in many places, they are not,” said the Minister.
De Lille issued a directive to her department on 16 March 2020 allowing them to proceed with emergency procurement procedures.
The following day, her department and the Department of Defence and the SA National Defence Force undertook diligence and site inspections and it was identified that a fence – 40km long and 1.8 meters high – be erected 20km on either side of the Beitbridge land port entry.
“Yesterday, 18 March, the specifications were finalised and all of the emergency supply chain management processes were undertaken. Yesterday, the contractor was appointed.”
The Minister said the site would be handed over to the contractor on Thursday, 19 March, for work to commence.
“Due to the project being an emergency, my department has instructed the contractor to substantially increase the number of teams deployed and the rate of delivery tenfold.”
Public works and infrastructure minister Patricia de Lille said the 1.8m-high fence would span 20km on each side of the border post, separating SA from Zimbabwe. The fence will cost R37.2m.
De Lille said the cost of the project is approximately R37.2 million.
All 40kms of fence will be finished within one month and local labour will be sourced by the contractor.
In order to further expedite this process, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has put the following in place:
– A dedicated Project Manager has been identified and will be deployed to supervise the project and ensure that all aspects run smoothly.
– Weekly payments will be made to the contractor for work completed, as certified by the Project Manager.