Misconduct and dismissals at fledgling BMA

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South Africa’s Border Management Authority (BMA) was officially launched in October and was at least semi-operational since mid-2022. In that time it notched up 18 misconduct cases and “about eight officials have been sanctioned for dismissal”.

That information was part of a wide-ranging briefing by BMA Chief Executive and Commissioner Michael Masiapato at the weekend.

His notes for the briefing, primarily to inform of plans for the upcoming year-end and its increased cross-border travel, have it “a zero tolerance approach on corrupt tendencies among officials” is in force. They go further stating the authority “would like to discourage officials from facilitating illegitimate movement of goods and people through our ports of entry”.

In October, the BMA made known it was planning to recruit 400 more border guards to boost the first 200-strong “cohort” deployed in June 2022. The recruitment made provision for land and coast guards with Masiapato telling the Sunday briefing “coastal guards have been deployed to critical areas of our coastline to start consolidating our work in the protection of the country’s marine resources”.

Armscor, as government’s official acquisition agency for South Africa’s security forces, is in the BMA’s sights. Masiapato’s notes state the Erasmusrand, Pretoria, headquartered State-owned enterprise (SOE) is on-board with “processes for procurement of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles), speed boards [probably boats] for the coastal guards, body cams and other critical tools of trade to enable the border guards to do their work better”.

The 5 October BMA launch in the northern border town Musina by President Cyril Ramaphosa followed the newest addition to the country’s security forces being approved as a Schedule 3(A) listed public entity in April this year.