Government plans to roll out its Border Management Authority (BMA) in the coming months, with the new state-owned company expected to introduce significant changes to the country’s borders.
Responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A, Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the BMA will see 200 additional border patrol guards hired, who will be responsible for conducting general border management activities and security services to ensure effective and efficient border management. This will include:
- Attending the on and off-duty parades and be stationed as per deployment schedule.
- Processing proactive and responsive complaint attendances.
- Reporting on arrested illegal foreigners held in the temporary holding cells.
- Safeguarding and controlling exhibits/evidence found to be handed over to other agencies.
- Conducting arrests of illegal foreigners/ detainees to be transferred to the nearest ports of entry or police station for further handling.
- Gathering information for compiled reports as required by higher authority.
Motsoaledi confirmed that the new guards will also be responsible for controls on the movement of goods and people, with a specific focus on preventing illegal foreigners from entering the country. This will include:
- Searching people, luggage and vehicles as per the relevant regulations on the planned roadblock/checkpoint operations in the port of entry and the vulnerable areas on the borderline.
- Performing borderline duties, traffic checkpoint operations and other law enforcement duties at outer/inner perimeter areas.
- Reporting on all illegal movement of people and goods.
- Maintaining surveillance from covert positions at or near the international borders.
The minister said the new guards will also be responsible for conducting vehicle and foot patrols. and reporting on international visitors, travellers and shoppers for monitoring purposes.
He added that the country’s army still has a role to play in protecting the country’s borders generally, with the BMA instead focusing on hotspot areas and towns where illegal activity most frequently occurs.
“The BMA Act empowers the border guards to effectively protect the Port of Entry, including its 10 kilometres radius to detect any traveller who avoids using the port for whatever reasons. The deployment of the border guards to the borderline does not seek to compete with the deployed members of the SANDF.”