Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

SANDF firefight at Mozambique border not expected to impact relations

SANDF MozambiqueOfficials from both sides of the border insists South Africa and Mozambique will continue to enjoy a close relationship.

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Government officials do not expect the exchange of fire between the SANDF and Mozambique Police to impact diplomatic relations.

Two Mozambique police officers were killed in the exchange which was brought to the attention of the media via a press release from the SANDF.

The SANDF sent an investigative team to the border to determine what led to the shooting and whether there was any culpability on either side.

Despite a lack of any great detail on the incident being available the word from government officials from both Mozambique and South Africa is “the incident would not cause a diplomat brawl.”

SA will continue to enjoy a cordial relationship with Mozambique

The countries have enjoyed a close relationship since the establishment of democratically elected government in South Africa. South Africa and Mozambique have an excellent track record when it comes to co-operation.

According to SANDF spokesperson Brigadier Mafi Mgobhozi, a preliminary report has already been finalised will only be issued once both parties were satisfied with the findings.

“Because we felt that issuing a report alone would give a one-sided version of what happened, we decided to send a high-level delegation to Mozambique to work on a joint report with our Mozambican counterparts,” Mgobhozi said.

SANDF deployment to Manguzi

The incident in question is believed to have taken place near the Northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Manguzi. The town has been the focal point of joint operations between the SAPS and SANDF in a bid to combat cross-border crime.

The area is a known thoroughfare for criminal syndicates who traffic in illicit goods and people. When the DA visited the border town in November of last year, residents and SANDF officers reportedly told the delegation that the local population live in fear from carjacking syndicates with ties to law enforcement.

“On 13 November we visited the Manguzi Border in KwaZulu-Natal between South Africa and Mozambique,” said DA spokesperson Jacques Julius.

“SANDF members we spoke to here indicated the crucial need for a proper fence, but also to clear the area 100m from the fence, for watch towers, infrared equipment and drones. We were able to cross into Mozambique, buy fish, and cross back into South Africa.

“We also engaged with terrified communities who are being taken advantage of by carjacking syndicates.

“It emerged in our conversations with SANDF members we encountered that there may well be powerful law enforcement individuals working with the syndicates, making it impossible to effectively police these crimes and end the syndicates.”

The report into the shooting incident is expected to be released this week.

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