Muckraker: The morons at our borders

Muckraker: The morons at our borders

IT is never Muckraker’s hobby to fume on behalf of anyone but what recently happened to the King at the border pushed her over the edge.
The story is that some overzealous officials on the South African side rummaged through the King’s car as if they were searching a Golf Velocity owned by a notorious thief.

What they were looking for we will never know.
It is however clear that they knew they were poking their calloused paws into a King’s car.
In so doing they were violating an age-old immigration rule that those with diplomatic passports should not be searched or delayed at the border without justifiable cause.

The search was not routine because it lasted more than an hour, according to some reports.
So the officials were not just searching but turning the car up-side-down.
They probably frisked the king himself and frisked around him.

The ‘frisk’ refers to a body-search which the other means to leap or skip playfully.
You cannot put both past the South African police.
They are brazen when they want to humiliate you and excitable when they think they have you in a tight corner.
It is possible that they went through his bags.

As can be expected, our government has bitterly complained to the South African government. Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she has apologised to her counterpart Lesego Makgothi. She plans to travel to Lesotho to ‘personally” ‘apologise’ to the King.

Muckraker wonders what sister Sisulu will say when she meets the king. She cannot possibly say the officers at the border did not know the rules that apply to a diplomat.

She will be a certified fool if she tries to say that the officials did not know that they were dealing with the King of Lesotho. He is one of the most recognisable faces in Southern Africa, holds a diplomatic passport and his cars are clearly marked.
His drivers and aides might have also whispered to the naughty officers that they were harassing a Head of State.
Either way you look at it Sister Sisulu will not have even straws to clutch on when she comes to Lesotho.
Even if the king, in his usual good nature, accepts the apology there is no way Sisulu can wash away the suspicion that his was a deliberate act to embarrass the king.

It is also not outlandish to assume that after accepting the apology the King can still ask Sisulu other pointed questions at the border.
It is scandalous that Sisulu is now galloping to Lesotho, tail between her yellow bone legs, simply because the border fiasco has now stung the King.
Surely the King knows what happened to him is precisely what has been happening to his people for the past eight months. Because of his renowned humility he probably knows that he is somewhat lucky to have spent a few hours at the border because his people are spending days in a queue.
We are dealing here with a South African government that has a barefaced contempt for other countries, even those like Lesotho that supply water to keep its industrial hub running.

Sisulu is a pathetic soul to think that only His Majesty deserves an apology.
Thousands of Basotho have been subjected to hellish treatment by those matric-less immigration officers who behave as if there is something sophisticated about scanning a passport.

Muckraker once spent half a day at the border as the immigration officials fiddled with their phones, admired themselves in the mirrors and took inordinate bathroom breaks.

One kept licking her fingers after dipping them in a packet full of chips. Why such a bulky woman insisted on stuffing her rotund cheeks with greasy things, Muckraker is yet to know.

What is infuriating is that no one has bothered to explain the delays at the border.
We know its effects but the answer to what causes it is as elusive as professionalism at the border.

Pretoria has proffered some dippy explanation about the new system and the lack of adequate personnel at the border. Those problems can be surmounted by simple solutions. Those who have been to other countries will tell you that the biometric system makes things faster, not slow.
Technology, by its nature, is supposed to increase production by making the system both efficient and faster.
Why the new technology at the border has made things much slower is mindboggling. Before the system it used to take 90 seconds to process a passport but now with the new system it takes nearly ten minutes to achieve the same.

Remember this is the same system used in other countries. The only logical conclusion is that either the immigration officials don’t know how to use the system or someone higher up the hierarchy has tinkered with the system to make it slower. Both are possibilities.
An average South Africa immigration officer is a dunderhead who barely managed three Cs in Matric.

Combine that low acumen with arrogance and contempt for other nationals, and you will see why the system has made things worse instead of better.
It is possible that someone has fiddled with the system to make it slower because despite its pretence at being a welcoming country South Africa doesn’t like poor Africans within its borders.

It is fine with corrupt Guptas. Send it fugitives and it will embrace them. But it frowns when it sees poor Africans crossing its borders.
Time and again we have been told that the biometric system is meant to curb cross-border crimes. The idea being that the system will weed out criminals and terrorists.

Yet, as we know already, Lesotho is not known to supply such malcontents to South Africa. And even if it has those in abundance it will be doubly naïve of South Africans to think they would use proper borders to enter the country. But it is understandable that South Africans would think that criminals are stupid.

After all they just had a pathetic and dimwit of a thief by the name of Zuma.
They therefore measure every criminal according to Zuma’s pitiable standard.

The criminals Lesotho will never disown are those who sell matekoane to South Africa. Most of those don’t use the proper borders to move their contraband.

And even if they use the right borders it’s not as if South Africans are really frightened about having truckloads of matekoane in their country.
Lesotho’s matekoane is probably what keeps South Africans from going berserk.

The officers at the border smoke Lesotho’s matekoane using long pipes. That is why some of them had the temerity to search the King’s car for hours.
Only an official intoxicated with the potent Mapoteng grade would behave as such.

South African ministers are always high on our matekoane. That is why it has taken them over a month to apologise to the king.
Muckraker knows that Sisulu only reacted after the Lesotho government wrote a second letter of complaint. Sisulu is behaving as if she has discovered this matter for the first time yet the president’s office has two letters from Lesotho complaining about the issue. Muckraker is not saying Sisulu is high but she indeed exhibits some symptoms of insobriety.

It might be that she caught a whiff of matekoane. All the same Muckraker hopes she would have regained control of her faculties when she meets the King.

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