South Africa is making big changes to its borders – here’s what to expect

The government is currently working on a new integrated border-line solution which is expected to help stem the flow of illegal immigrants entering South Africa.

Responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A, Public Works and Infrastructure minister Patricia de Lille said the new integrated border-line solution was a collaboration between her department and several others, including:

  • The Department of Defence (DOD),
  • The Department of Home Affairs (DHA),
  • The Border Management Authority (BMA)
  • The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD).

De Lille added that several bids for new border security services were published in 2021, with her department currently considering their feasibility.

She added that the controversial R37 million border fence which she presided over in 2020 was largely ineffective and that new bids will focus on entirely separate controls.

“In its current form, the fence is not fit for purpose and is in material non-compliance with the project specifications. For this reason, the DPWI has resolved not to carry out any repairs on the fence as this will constitute wasteful expenditure.”

Border Management Authority 

The government has also established a new Border Management Authority (BMA) which will be at the forefront of fighting illicit and unauthorised movement at the country’s borders. The BMA will be established as a national public entity and will report to the minister of Home Affairs.

Unlike the current system, which relies on a combination of over seven different departments – including  SARS, the SAPS, and the SANDF – the new authority will employ its own guards to control and patrol the borders.

The organisation also has its own unique look, uniforms and designs – with a new insignia developed and approved by the Department of Home Affairs.

These BMA designs will appear on everything, from uniforms to stationery, in preparation for when the authority launches as a standalone entity in mid-2022. 15 Toyota Landcruisers have also been purchased to assist in patrolling the border and with other duties.

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said his department has also started a process of developing a separate One-Stop Border Policy (OSBP) Bill that will go through the legislative process led by parliament.

The policy aims to harmonise the movement of people and goods between South Africa’s land ports of entry and its neighbouring countries, as well as address congestion that results in delays.

Read: New Home Affairs system to be expanded in South Africa

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