BLOEMFONTEIN — South Africa’s main opposition,
Democratic Alliance, says it is worried that the looming food shortages in
Lesotho will increase crime on the country’s borders with South Africa.
DA MP Roy Jankielsohn said the food shortage in Lesotho
is likely to result in a spike in crime in the Free State province, especially
the farming areas on the border.
Lesotho’s Disaster Management Authority has said over
720 000 people will not have enough to eat this year.
Poor and late rains drastically reduced maize yields in
most parts of the country.
The national maize harvest has taken a huge knock.
The government has already declared a national disaster
and appealed to the donor community for urgent assistance. Jankielsohn is
worried that the crisis in Lesotho will force many people to resort to crime.
“The looming food shortages (in Lesotho) have the
potential to increase cross-border crime,” Jankielsohn said.
“The eastern Free State already experiences serious
crime problems that have significantly reduced agricultural activity along the
“Any food shortages in Lesotho due to the reduction in
crop yields will have a further security impact for the Free State.”
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) last
year deployed troops around the Lesotho border to clamp down on criminal
But Jankielsohn said the SANDF has to do more because
the crisis in Lesotho will make the borders more insecure.
“This will have to be taken into account by the SAPS and
SANDF that are deployed in attempts to secure the border.”
He urged stronger relations between South Africa and
“Clearly South Africa, and specifically the Free State,
is affected by events in Lesotho,” Jankielsohn said. “The relationship is no
longer one of dependency by Lesotho on South Africa, but one of social,
economic and political symbiosis (mutual dependency).”