De Lille urges Defence Department to approve plan to fix SA's border fences

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille told Parliament that borderline infrastructure was in a dilapidated condition.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: @PatriciaDeLille/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille has called on her Department of Defence counterparts to approve another plan to fix the country’s porous borders.

De Lille and her department on Thursday night briefed Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence about a forensic investigation into 1 Military Hospital’s refurbishment programme.

She also briefed MPs about the country’s 3,000km-long border and the urgent need to fix it.

She told Parliament that the state of the borderline infrastructure was in a dilapidated condition. This included fences, patrol roads and ICT security systems.

It said that with the COVID-19 pandemic, the porous borders had become further exposed.

De Lille called on the Defence Department to urgently finalise specifications for the border fence.

"We are in a crisis situation with hardly any decent border fencing across our country and so it is very, very urgent. So I will just make an appeal to the Department of Defence to approve the specifications, so we can run with it as soon as possible," the minister said.

She said that delays to 1 Military Hospital’s refurbishment had already cost over R1 billion.

De Lille said that she hoped to meet with Defence Minister Thandi Modise to discuss a number of projects that involved both departments.