Wednesday, 11 March 2020

NEW SA LAW TO CURB BORDER JUMPING


SOUTH Africa’s parliament has passed the Border Management Authority Bill which seeks to streamline operations at its port of entry and deal with the issue of border jumpers.

The development comes a few weeks after Pretoria undertook to modernise some of its ports of entry, among them Beitbridge, where the One-Stop-Border-Post (OSBP) concept is set to be jointly implemented with Zimbabwe.

The Chronicle understands that streamlining operation at Beitbridge and upgrading infrastructure is one of the key requirements to the successful implementation of the OSBP. 

It is envisaged that under the model, people and trucks will be processed by both countries under one roof. An average of 14 000 people use Zimbabwe and South Africa’s border post daily.

In a statement, South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said: “The BMA Bill is long overdue. I welcome the passing of the Bill by the National Assembly. The BMA will enable the country to manage its borders in a manner that facilitates trade and plugs holes at our porous borders. These porous borders lead to among others, illegal crossing of people, illicit goods, drugs, trafficking of people, particularly of women and children and stolen vehicles.”

He said the authority (BMA) will help simplify the management of border posts or official gates of entry so as to deal with red tape by establishing one command structure covering the responsibilities of up to eight different government agencies which are operating at borders.

Dr Motsoaledi said the Department of Home Affairs has been preparing for the implementation of the BMA through the Project Management Office. 

“This Project Management Office has been working with other government departments and agencies to ensure its speedy implementation,” he said.

Zimbabwe is also finalising plans to operationalise the National Ports Authority which will manage all the country’s ports of entry and will fall under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development.

According to Government sources, the NPA is now at the drafting stage at the Attorney General’s office.

Such a port authority will deal with operations, security, health, among other issues.

Some of the stakeholders at the border posts include; Department of Immigration, Insurance companies, Zimra, police and the army (with varied branches), Prisons, Air Force, ministries of Health, Environmental Management Authority, Forestry Commission, Transport and Veterinary Services,) among other security agencies. Chronicle

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