Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi is today (Thursday) scheduled to unveil the first 200 cohorts of the new Border Management Authority’s (BMA) border guards, who will tighten up South Africa’s porous borders and clamp down on illicit trade and movement.
The newly recruited members of the Border Guard will be brought into service at a deployment ceremony at the Beitbridge Port of Entry in Musina, Limpopo.
“The highlights of the day will include the pass-out parade of the newly recruited members of the Border Guard who were carefully selected and trained, with a focus on fitness and physical assessment,” the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement.
The cohort will be statically deployed at five identified “vulnerable segments of the borderline” where they will work 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 April 1, 2023 through the integration of five streams of functions performed by various government departments, including 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,” the department said.
“When fully established, the BMA will play a pivotal role in tackling border security challenges impacting 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.”
Motsoaledi is expected to share further updates on progress and next steps in the phased establishment of the authority at the ceremony, including how the border guards will be deployed to tighten border management at identified ports of entry and vulnerable segments along the borderline.