South Africa has a 4,200-mile land border with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique and a coastline of 2500 kilometres, none of which are effectively patrolled.
These border patrol duties were handed from the military to the already overstretched police who are not equipped or staffed to deal with this added burden.
Illegal immigrants in South Africa are now estimated at 4 million, this in a country with a population of 43 million.
We have recently seen xenophobic outbreaks were countless immigrants have lost their lives.
Yet the government has made no attempt to control this influx. Ever more South Africans are living below the breadline and the immigrant population keeps growing unabated. This puts more pressure on the government, local authorities and welfare organizations as their budgets cannot possibly keep pace with the growing demand.
With the approaching 2010 World cup and the envisaged riches that the masses believe this event will bring, coupled with the 2 million % Zimbabwe inflation, we can expect this situation to get much worse.
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Who's watching SA's coastline?
There are more than 300 small vessel launch sites and slipways around South Africa's coastline that are not monitored by the SA Police Services' Sea Borderline Control unit, a senior police official said on Tuesday.
The unit - which is responsible for the coastline stretching from the mouth of the Orange River in the west to Kosi Bay on the other side of the sub-continent - had only two units, one at Richards Bay and the other in Simon's Town, Superintendent David Smal told delegates at the Maritime Security in Southern African Waters conference in Stellenbosch.
"We are just in our baby shoes when it comes to addressing sea borderline control," he said.
This meant the existence or not of trans-national crime - such as illegal immigration, drug smuggling, weapons smuggling and human trafficking, among others - along 3 895 nautical miles of South Africa's coastline could not be confirmed.
The unit is responsible for border control along the whole length of the SA coast excluding the major harbours.
Smal said it was not possible for his unit to monitor vessels using the slipways and launch sites.
Of particular concern were vessels under 500 gross tons.
Asked to quantify the extent of illegal immigration, drug smuggling and trafficking, Smal said he "could not put a figure to it", but added that although there was a "big amount" of drug smuggling into South Africa, there was not much of this along the coast.
Further, the amount of human trafficking on the coast was "not that much".
The SA Navy recently handed over two small vessels and four rubber ducks to the Sea Borderline Control Unit to beef up its water patrols.