South African borders are emerging as hotspots for severe crimes and atrocities. This practice is more prevalent on the border between South Africa and Mozambique in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Patterns of cross-border corruption and criminal activities affect the local communities in many ways. The government has made remarkable strides to address this issue by deploying large numbers of soldiers and border police officers along the borders, but all these efforts have proven futile. Yet, corruption among border officials has become the main reason for these atrocities not to cease.
There is strong evidence that many criminal networks engage in poly-criminal activity, adding simply migrant smuggling or trafficking in human beings to their ‘services portfolio’. Criminal groups facilitating irregular migration may also collaborate with networks involved with other types of serious and organised crime such as the production and provision of fraudulent documents, corruption, safe houses and transportation, illicit money transfers and laundering. A few of the challenges are outine below.
Crime happening on the borders: Car theft, smuggling and immorality among border Officials
A severe crime through these borders is the theft and smuggling of vehicles from South Africa to Mozambique. The critical concern is that these criminal activities do not happen in a vacuum. Still, the public officials (SANDF and SAPS, in this case) entrusted with the power to protect our communities are implicated in these heinous crimes. Some border officials have become ‘opportunistic’ individuals, so the so-called ‘masterminds’ of this serious crime bribe them with a lot of money for a car to pass through the border.
Effects of smuggling in society: Psycho-social impacts of car smuggling
The dangerous aspect of these car smugglers is that they not only steal cars but also kidnap, physically abuse, and rape their victims. Imagine the daily challenges and efforts you make to improve your life; then, you buy a costly vehicle, which is stolen. It was inexpensively sold within a month and in a foreign country. This alone has the power to fill you with dread and agony.
Drug smuggling and its impacts on local youth
Illegal cigarettes are frequently transported past these borders from Mozambique to South Africa and sold on the black market because of corruption among border officers. The use of these substances by young people in the neighbourhood has substantial and detrimental effects on their mental health.
The issue of undocumented immigrants
Another concern is the increasing number of undocumented immigrants illegally entering the country from Mozambique. This poses a severe threat to the safety of women near these borders. Rape instances have been recorded in a vast number. Many young women have vanished and are occasionally discovered dead after being raped. The epidemic of rape constitutes a flagrant breach of women’s rights to be free from torture and other cruel, inhumane, and humiliating treatment. Additionally, it violates their right to life.
At the border, corruption, crime, and atrocities are often reported. Hence, this issue is worth attention to since what threatens our people’s lives cannot be ignored. To reduce these artificial problems that constantly afflict our society, the government must take this matter seriously, enhance border security, and make border authorities accountable for their actions.