Border Management Authority to spend R8 billion plus on salaries, goods and services

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Another addition to South Africa’s bureaucracy – the Border Management Authority (BMA) –will apparently spend in excess of R8 billion on employee compensation and goods and services over its 15-year implementation.

This was part of the response given to Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian Adrian Roos as a member of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs (PCHA) by Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

The ministerial response has it that in terms of the BMA blueprint, an estimated R2 974 963 978 will pay employees working for the “fully-fledged BMA public entity”. Motsoaledi adds that compensation of employees (CoE) would “reflect compensation budgets” transferred from unnamed principal departments “whose functions are to be transferred” to government’s planned control and management function for South Africa’s 72 ports of entry. These are, in addition to Home Affairs, apparently going to be police, soldiers, SA Revenue Service (SARS) and Department of Health staffers dealing with potential viruses and other illnesses in both animals and humans making border crossings.

Goods and services, again in the BMA blueprint, will cost R5 281 133 622 over the 15-year implementation. As with salaries there will be contributions from other departments involved.

Motsoaledi tells Roos: “The realisation of additional budgets would be based entirely on availability of funds from the national fiscus”.

In June, DHA director general Tommy Makhode, briefing Parliament’s Select Committee on Security and Justice, made what is widely seen as the first public announcement regarding senior personnel for the BMA. He told the committee former SARS chief officer for tax and customs enforcement Gene Ravele is acting commissioner until the post is permanently filled.

Minister Motsoaledi listed six phases of the BMA roadmap leading to its “full establishment and integration”.

They are: pre-establishment (2018/20); planning, establishment and transitional (2021/23); integration and initial toll-out (2024/25); integration and incremental expansion (2026/27); operate, review and full integration (2028/29 and a sustainability and adaptability phase in 2030.

The phases will see, among others, identified ports of entry and “borderline segments” for transition to BMA control as well as “roles and structures to support and manage ports of entry and land borders” managed by the authority.

By way of reaction Roos told defenceWeb “the BMA looks to be going nowhere slowly”.