STARTING next month South Africa will deploy soldiers on its porous borders with Lesotho.
There are also plans to erect a fence along the border.
We think this is a positive development.
The measures have been necessitated by rampant cattle rustling, illegal crossings and smuggling that has been happening along the borders.
These crimes have been happening because the Lesotho/South African borderline is virtually non-existent.
Manned by only 130 police officers who are poorly equipped, the borderline had become a “hassle-free” corridor through which criminals from both South Africa and Lesotho smuggle their goods.
Other criminals are having free rein.
It is therefore important for our government to complement South Africa’s efforts by improving security on the Lesotho side of the border.
It is in our interest as a country that we secure our borders.
The cost of doing nothing about the porous borders could be calamitous for our people and our fragile economy.
Goods are being smuggled into Lesotho through illegal entry points.
This is costing the country much-needed tax and duty revenue.
The amount of money that Lesotho receives from the Southern African Customs Union depends on the goods that enter this country legally.
Because of our weak border security our diamonds are being smuggled into South Africa.
While South Africans like to point out that the rampant cattle rustling in border communities is being perpetrated by Basotho, evidence shows otherwise.
There can be no denying that there are livestock thieves on both sides hence the numerous bloody clashes between the communities on either side that have been reported in the past.
Human traffickers are taking advantage of the porous borders to transport Basotho, especially women and children, to South Africa where they are used for cheap labour or as sex slaves.
Our livestock, the very symbol of wealth in the Basotho culture, are in danger of being infected if diseases break out in villages and farms along the border.
Our people have become notorious for smuggling marijuana into South Africa.
We need not remind the government that the suspected mercenaries who attacked the army barracks and attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in 2009 entered this country through undesignated areas along the border.
We would not be scaremongering if we say that for as long as our borders are leaky such threats to our national security remain a possibility.
Given these realities, it is therefore clear that the government needs to urgently improve security along the borders.
It makes social, political and economic sense to do so urgently.
It is a matter of national security.
It is the responsibility of each government to ensure that its country’s borders are secure.
South Africa has done its part. So should we.