Government says the establishment of a Border Management Agency (BMA) “is receiving due consideration and will be finalised by 2014.”
President Jacob Zuma announced the BMA in his inaugural State of the Nation Address in June 2009. Since then, there’s been little news and many rumours of infighting regarding the budget, function, placing and structure of the agency. In October last year, Cabinet’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster said an “interim structure of a BMA is expected to be established by next year.” Now, it seems, this has been put off a further two years.
Addressing the media on justice, crime prevention and security matters rising from President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, cluster chairman Jeff Radebe noted a task team “has been established to ensure a coordinated and integrated approach is implemented to ensure border post security and borderline integrity.” The justice minister added the task team included the South African Revenue Service – responsible for customs; the Department of Defence, the police, the departments of Public Works and Home Affairs and the State Security Agency.
“The objectives to have a stable, safe and thriving democratic dispensation rests on our shoulders as the JCPS cluster, as we are custodians of the Constitution and all laws of the Republic,” Radebe said. “We are charged with ensuring that the relevant defence, police and correctional mechanisms are in place and work efficiently and effectively. We have pledged and committed ourselves to the President and to the country towards curbing any threat to our people’s citizenship and their physical integrity – this extends to our economy and the national territory. It remains our continued obligation as a cluster to ensure that the appropriate foundation, reflective of our Constitutional principles and ideals, is laid down and sustained.”
Regarding the South African National Defence Force, Radebe noted it will “continue to safeguard our borders, through a four-phase deployment plan. The 1st and 2nd phases involving borders with Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland have been finalised. Phases 3 and 4 which involve borders with Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana will be rolled out soon. The cluster will also be looking at alternative ways, including the use of technology, to safeguard our borders.”
Some success with the latter includes the Movement Control System (MCS) and Advanced Passenger Processing System (APP), operationalised ahead of last year’s soccer World Cup. Radebe said these continued “to be invaluable in ensuring that we detect and prevent undesirable persons from entering South Africa. We now have a more reliable system capable of providing updated statistics on traveller movements.”
For more on the practical effects of this further delay, consider attending defenceWeb’s Border Control conference at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, on March 8 and 9.