Border Management Authority aiming to employ young graduates


Control and protection at a small number of South Africa’s 72 ports of entry will, according to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) director general, see “integrated and co-ordinated border management” become an operating norm by September.

Tommy Makhode briefed Parliament’s Select Committee on Security and Justice following presentation of the Home Affairs budget vote in the National Assembly by Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Ports of entry where the newest addition to South African bureaucracy – the Border Management Authority (BMA) – are expected to publicly “debut” are all land ones. They are, according to DHA, Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Oshoek, Kopfontein, Groblersbrug, Vioolsdrift, Ramatlabama, Nakop and Qachasnek.

Speaking during his budget vote Motsoaledi told parliamentarians the BMA borderline control function will by year-end be working on the South Africa/Zimbabwe border, “the 76 km borderline at eManguzi in KwaZulu-Natal, between KwaZulu-Natal and Eswatini and between Mpumalanga and eSwatini”.

Makhode said, as reported by Johannesburg-based digital weekly Mail & Guardian, more than R4 billion will be spent “getting the BMA going”.

The fledgling authority first saw the light of legislative day as a draft bill to establish a Border Management Agency by way of a Government Gazette published in August 2015. The “agency” appellation did apparently not engender sufficient ethos and was replaced by “authority” during one of numerous parliamentary and oversight committee debates on the problems of border control along South Africa’s 4 862 km of land border as well as ports of entry at airports and ports.

The DHA director general told the parliamentary committee the process of employing a commissioner and deputy commissioner for the BMA is underway” with a due date for the “crucial appointments” 30 June. Former SA Revenue Service (SARS) chief officer for tax and customs enforcement Gene Ravele is acting commissioner until the post is permanently filled.

The BMA Act has it the Authority’s commissioner will “determine and implement a uniform recruitment procedure” for appointment of officials and appoint officers as members of the border guard and support staff”. The Commissioner will be responsible for filling staff posts and ensuring border guards receive proper training.

On who he saw becoming part of the BMA, Makhode told the committee as reported by Mail and Guardian: “We want to employ young graduates from the border community. Unemployed youth should benefit from the BMA. This will strengthen community liaison for the borders, because once surrounding communities feel included they will ensure borders are well kept and uninterrupted”.

A DHA presentation sees the BMA being incrementally rolled out between now and 2024.

The department’s target for 2021/2022 is for roll-outs to take place at 11 ports of entry “by incorporating frontline immigration, port health, border facility management and agricultural functions into the BMA”.

In his budget vote Minister Motsoaledi indicated the BMA has an initial implementation budget of R120 million.