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

South Africa is set to launch a new state-owned entity in 2022 in the form of the Border Management Authority (BMA).

Presenting to parliament on Tuesday (23 November), officials said that the BMA’s role would be to act as a single entity that manages the movement of people and goods across the country’s borders. It will also act as a type of law enforcement agency, as it aims to clamp down on fraud, corruption and other illicit activities.

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, said BMA head Nakampe Michael Masiapato.

Masiapato added that the organisation would have its own unique look, with a new insignia developed and approved by the Department of Home Affairs in October 2021. Consultations are currently underway with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, and the Office of the State Heraldry regarding the registration and/or protection of the logo.

Masiapato said that BMA officials would also have their own unique uniforms and designs, with 15 Toyota Landcruisers purchased to assist in patrolling the border and with other duties.

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.

The Border Management Authority forms part of an ongoing push by the South African government to modernise the country’s borders, clamp down on illegal immigration and improve security.

This will include the redevelopment of six of South Africa’s ports of entry, including:

  • Beit Bridge (Zimbabwe);
  • Lebombo (Mozambique);
  • Oshoek (Eswatini);
  • Kopfontein (Botswana);
  • Maseru Bridge (Lesotho);
  • Ficksburg (Lesotho).

This major project is aimed at modernising these ports into ‘world-class’ one-stop border posts, with construction set to be concluded by 2025.

“The benefit for the South African economy is that goods and people will move through these six busiest land ports at a faster pace and in a more effective and efficient manner,” Home Affairs said.

“This will have specific and direct benefits for traders, freight carriers and all those transporting goods since the intention is that all movement through these ports will be processed once and jointly by South Africa and the relevant neighbouring country.”

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