South Africa’s much-vaunted Border Management Authority (BMA) is underfunded by about R10 billion, a 2022/23 Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report by the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has found.
The BMA, launched to much fanfare by President Cyril Ramaphosa on October 5 in Musina, is supposed to eventually absorb 6000 border police members to execute its mandate of exclusively protecting the country’s borders.
However, funding shortfalls mean only 200 border guards are currently employed by the BMA.
According to expectations based on current budgetary constraints, the BMA will only be able to ramp up its uniformed staff complement by another 200 personnel in the next financial year.
Although the BMA’s establishment was announced in a Government Gazette of July 2020, during which it was made clear that it’s supposed to encompass all border-related protection services, initial underfunding is hampering the authority to manage its mandate early on.
An amount of at least R2.9 billion pledged to the BMA in 2022 has only resulted in R168 million transferred to the authority for that year.
So far this year the BMA has only seen a further R278.6m.
Together, it equates to 15% of the R2.9 billion that the authority is supposed to receive by 2025, or less than a third of the R10 billion estimated for the BMA to absorb all border functions as set out in the July ’20 Gazette.
As a result of the underfunding, it seems unlikely that the BMA will “provide a sustainable solution to the structural challenges of border security, control and coordination”, as was reported following Ramaphosa’s October launch of the BMA (*).
According to a report in Netwerk 24 this morning, the Portfolio Committee has said that the budget-related personnel challenges of the BMA mean the authority will not be able to take control of the country’s borders properly.
It also casts a shadow over BMA Commissioner Mike Masiapato’s assurance that the “entity will eradicate corruption and secure the country’s borders.”
* Read this for context: “Ramaphosa launches Border Management Authority.”