The man currently heading up one of the latest additions to South Africa’s bureaucracy – the Border Management Authority (BMA) – was introduced to legislators by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi during his budget vote in Parliament last week.
Former SA Revenue Service (SARS) chief officer for tax and customs enforcement Gene Ravele will, according to the Minister, act as the number one in the fledgling entity until such time as a permanent commissioner along with a pair of deputies, is appointed. This is in process via a Presidential Minute.
Further involvement of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office in the BMA and efforts to operationalise it are a Presidential Proclamation. This, according to the Home Affairs Minister, will transfer “relevant border law enforcement functions and staff” to the new border control entity.
Indications are by year-end the BMA will be operational at 11 ports of entry and “five out of 10 segments of the borderline”.
The ports of entry are Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Oshoek, Kopfontein, Groblersbrug, Vioolsdrift, Ramatlabama, Nakop and Qachasnek.
BMA’s borderline control function will by year-end, according to the Minister, 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”.
Bucking the trend of budget cuts in government departments, the latest being Naledi Pandor’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO), Motsoaledi said the initial implementation budget for the BMA was R120 million. It was previously going to be R28 million.