The South African government has unveiled a crack unit which is expected to stop Zimbabweans from entering the country illegally along the Beitbridge/Musina corridor.
In a statement, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the Border Management Authority (BMA) Border Guards are a group of “carefully selected and trained” people who are physically fit to stop those trying to illegally cross the border.
“Whilst the broader integration process is underway, this cohort will be statically deployed at the identified five vulnerable segments of the borderline, working together with members of the South African National Defence Force. The BMA, which is South Africa’s new, single authority for border management with a single command and control, was established through the Border Management Authority Act of 2020. It will be fully established on 01 April 2023 through the integration of five streams of functions performed by various government departments – Home Affairs; Forestry, Fisheries and Environment; Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and Health. This includes access control functions conducted by members of the SA Police Service in the ports of entry.
“The Authority will tighten border management by implementing an integrated and coordinated approach in the border management environment. This is an improvement on the previous multi-agency approach comprising multiple authorities with different mandates. When fully established, the BMA will play a pivotal role in tackling border security challenges impacting on the country and its neighbours, such as uncoordinated traveller processing, cross-border criminality, illegal crossings and undue delays in the facilitation of movement of goods and services. The BMA model will pave the way for the creation of smart border posts and systems and advance trade facilitation in the region.”
Millions of Zimbabweans, some of them illegal immigrants, live in South Africa.