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Border Management Authority Under the Spotlight

February 13, 2020

Department of Home Affairs

Beit Bridge will be prioritized as one of the initial implementation areas for the envisaged Border Management Authority (BMA).

The home affairs minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, highlighted this during a media briefing on progress on the BMA and the impact of increased capacity during the 2019/20 festive season and 2-10 January extended hours.

The Border Management Authority 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 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.

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.

The portfolio committee on home affairs recently announced that the proposed amendments by the NCOP had been adopted.

The bill must now be voted on in the national assembly.

The minister pointed out that common security issues such as criminal acts, violations of domestic laws of countries, transnational organized crime, terrorist threats and human trafficking exist worldwide in border control.

He declared that the BMA “will facilitate and manage legitimate movement of persons within the border law enforcement area and at ports of entry”.

The plan is for the incremental establishment and rollout of the BMA to designated ports of entry and key segments of the land borderline such as Oshoek, Lebombo, OR Tambo International Airport and the Port of Cape Town.

The minister also announced that a total of 6 585 617 traveler movements across all South Africa’s ports of entry was recorded during the 2019/20 festive period, a drop from the 6 645 630 traveler movements recorded in the 2018/19 festive season.