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Border Management Authority Bill Under the Spotlight

February 6, 2020

Department of Home Affairs

The home affairs department is finalizing the draft Section 97 Presidential Proclamation that will transfer border law enforcement functions from affected ministers to the minister of home affairs.

The department revealed this during a briefing in parliament on the Border Management Authority Bill.

The bill was passed by the national council of provinces (NCOP) and returned to the national assembly (NA) for consideration of proposed amendments in December 2019.

The NA passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in June 2017.

The bill was tabled in parliament at the end of May 2016.

It lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived by the NCOP in October 2019.

The bill seeks to put a Border Management Authority (BMA) in place. It also provides for the function and structure of the envisaged authority.

The proposed legislation will also allow for the transfer, assignment and designation of law enforcement functions on the country’s borders and at points of entry to the BMA.

The BMA would be empowered to manage the movement of people across the borders, co-ordinate activities with other relevant state bodies and put an enabling environment in place to boost legitimate trade.

The bill also calls for the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee, Border Technical Committee and advisory committees and provides for the review or appeal of decisions of officers.

The bill aims to:

• provide for the establishment, organisation, regulation, functions and control of the Border Management Authority;
• provide for the appointment, terms of office, conditions of service and functions of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners;
• provide for the appointment and terms and conditions of employment of officials;
• provide for the duties, functions and powers of officers;
• provide for the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee, Border Technical Committee and advisory committees;
• provide for delegations;
• provide for the review or appeal of decisions of officers;
• provide for certain offences and penalties;
• provide for annual reporting; to provide for the Minister to make regulations with regard to certain matters; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Proposed amendments drawn up by the select committee on security and justice include the insertion of a new definition on “customs related functions” meaning the “functions performed exclusively by the South African Revenue Service under—(a) customs and excise legislation; and (b) any tax Act, as defined in the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (Act No. 28 of 2011)”.

A new clause 27 on implementation protocols is also proposed focused on the coordination of functions by relevant state organs on border law enforcement.

During the briefing, the department also pointed out that it is planning for the incremental establishment and roll-out of the BMA to designated Ports of Entry and key segments of the land borderline in 2020/21.

Intended benefits of the proposed legislation include the creation of customer service efficiencies through streamlined, integrated operations at Ports of Entry; improvement in shared information, risk profiling and mitigation and enforcement to create an integrated border environment; the optimisation of Port of Entry operations and processes to enhance efficiencies through maximum compliance and minimum administrative costs and delays and improvement in management, discipline and transparency at a Port of Entry within a larger command and control organizational environment.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the portfolio committee on home affairs confirmed that it has adopted the amendments as proposed by the NCOP.

According to the Committee Chairperson, Advocate Bongani Bongo, the committee would like to have the bill passed into law as soon as possible.

The next step in the process is for the bill to go to the national assembly for debate and a vote.