“If the recent concerns raised are valid, it means that our country and the Northern Cape will be losing out on millions of rand worth of revenue,”
THE MINISTER of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, has been called on to speed up negotiations relating to the unresolved Orange River boundary issue between South Africa and Namibia, following fears that the Northern Cape could be losing out on valuable diamond deposits.
The DA in the Northern Cape yesterday made the call to Sisulu after the party raised concerns that Namibia might not be honouring the international northern border line and could end up mining diamonds off the west coast seabed in diamond-rich waters of the Northern Cape province, while South Africa “knowingly turned a blind eye”.
“If the recent concerns raised are valid, it means that our country and the Northern Cape will be losing out on millions of rand worth of revenue,” DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, said yesterday.
Louw added that the matter dated back to a pre-1994 dispute in respect of South Africa’s northern border with Namibia, “which until today remained inconclusive”.
“In a parliamentary reply, dated September 14 2018, Sisulu indicated that the two countries continued to engage with the view to resolve the matter. She stated that in April 2013 the two countries established a Joint Committee of Experts which subsequently submitted its final report to the two governments. It seems that little has been done since then,” Louw said.
He added that at a time when unemployment and poverty was at an all-time high, government’s “laid back approach” to the boundary issue could be costing jobs.
“This is yet another example of how South Africa needs to tighten its border control, both on land and offshore. The DA will write to Minister Sisulu, asking that government actively accelerate a resolution to the boundary dispute.
“Offshore mineral resources could offer a lifeline to Namaqualand, whose economy is largely dependent on diamonds,” Louw concluded.