Scopa labels Beitbridge border fence a disgrace and sham

MPs have compared the fence to the Berlin Wall where people tried to cross into West Germany seeking a better life during the Cold War.

FILE: Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The controversial Beitbridge border fence is both a “disgrace” and a “sham”.

That’s according to members of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).

MPs have also compared the fence to the Berlin Wall where people tried to cross into West Germany seeking a better life during the Cold War.

Scopa on Tuesday held a follow-up meeting following its recent visit to Beitbridge where MPs found a rusted fence which was shorter than the required height.

MPs and law enforcement agencies agree the Beitbridge fence, which cost almost R40 million, was not fit for purpose.

Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said: “I think there is no dispute in that what we saw at Beitbridge confirmed our worst fears that the fence is not fit for purpose.”

Committee member Alf Lees said the failure of Zimbabwe was a main concern.

“We can look at the example of the Berlin Wall, which was a massive wall, but failed to keep people in East Germany because the separation was bad.

“We have a similar situation here; Zimbabweans coming to South Africa are not going to be stopped by any fence.”

The committee has called for action to be taken against Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille and have called for a Treasury report on the debacle to be released.

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