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NCOP Sends Border Management Authority Bill Back to NA

December 4, 2019


4 December 2019

The Border Management Authority Bill has been passed by the national council of provinces (NCOP) and returned to the national assembly (NA) for consideration of proposed amendments.

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.

The proposed legislation was published for comment in August 2015.

The bill 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.

Other intended benefits of the proposed legislation highlighted by the home affairs department during a briefing in 2016 includes:

• A formalised relationship between the BMA and relevant organs of state to enhance security and management of the border environment;
• Improvement in shared information, risk profiling and mitigation and enforcement to create an integrated border environment picture;
• A focused approach to optimize port of entry operations and processes to enhance efficiencies through maximum compliance and minimum administrative costs and delays;
• Effective utilisation of financial, human, infrastructure and accommodation resources in the implementation of border management functions at a port of entry as an agent for multiple border management authorities;
• Improved sterility and integrity of port of entry and border law enforcement areas and processes; and
• Improvement in management, discipline and transparency with a single line of sight authority at a port of entry within a larger command and control organizational environment.

Proposed amendments 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 will consider the proposed amendments.