allAfrica.com: South Africa: SA’s Borders ‘Vulnerable’ for World Cup

allAfrica.com: South Africa: SA’s Borders ‘Vulnerable’ for World Cup.

Johannesburg — SA WILL have to rely on intelligence to detect any security threats during the Fifa World Cup because it has no capacity to monitor all movement across its borders, defence analyst Helmoed Heitman says.

Security will be a major issue during the soccer event, amid concern that SA’s borders are porous. Heitman said SA, like most African states, faced the problem of long borders, a large landmass and a small security force.

“The World Cup will be a real problem as we have no way of controlling anyone coming through a beach or a land border,” Heitman said during a border security conference organised by DefenceWeb, a security news service in Midrand.

“If someone wants to cross into SA it’s not very difficult to do.”

During his inaugural state of the nation address in June last year, President Jacob Zuma said a border management agency would be established to replace the present interdepartmental Border Control Co-ordinating Committee, headed by the South African Revenue Service.

Heitman suggested that the planned agency consist of a small staff headed by a director-general tasked with co-ordinating border issues using existing structures like customs and the military, in much the same way that the US department of homeland security was constituted.

Effective intelligence could be obtained only through detective-type networks and barely through the use of technology, he said.

Director of operations Klaus Roesler said the agency had the ability to collect intelligence to investigate cross-border crime.

However, he said success depended on co-operation with other countries.

“Effective border control without the co-operation of neighbouring countries is unthinkable for the future,” he said.

Heitman was opposed to the establishment of a dedicated border guard or a coast guard, saying this would be expensive and a duplication of the army and navy’s roles.

However, he said patrols without air support were of very limited effectiveness, at a time when smuggling and the movement of narcotics was expected to expand into the region.

Fences would be frowned upon in the present climate of co-operation but they were effective, although they were also expensive. “They cost money, and they work,” he said.

The South African National Defence Force has resumed border patrol duties, replacing the police on the Zimbabwe border, the last remaining area where the police were deployed.

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