BMA tackling corruption via SIU forum

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A stated aim of Michael Masiapato, Border Management Authority (BMA) Chief Executive and Commissioner, is “a zero tolerance approach on corrupt tendencies among officials” with an anti-corruption forum established in South Africa’s latest security force.

The Border Management and Immigration Anti-Corruption Forum (BMIACF) held its inaugural meeting in Pretoria on Monday (8 April) and is the fourth anti-corruption forum set up under the auspices of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). A primary mandate of the SIU is investigating serious allegations of corruption, malpractice and maladministration in the administration of State institutions, State assets and public money. BMIACF follows similar forums for health, local government and infrastructure.

The BMIACF is, as per a statement by the SIU’s Kaizer Kganyago, modelled on the health sector anti-corruption forum, now in its fifth year of existence and will focus on immigration and border management, both “vulnerable to corruption”.

There have been reports, according to the statement, of how the sector is infiltrated by syndicates that influence the issuing of permits and visas and influence officials to engage in unlawful activities. To deal with corruption in the border management and immigration sector, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation 154 in February empowering the SIU to investigate irregular, unlawful or improper conduct by Department of Home Affairs (DHA) officials or employees or other persons or entities about allegations of corruption. The BMA is s Schedule 3A public entity under the DHA, officially launched in Musina last October with limited activities and operations going back a year before the launch.

Masiapato explained the intricacies of the border management environment to the inaugural meeting, highlighting high risk areas in immigration control and the cross-border movement of goods and animals.

A BMIACF steering committee will co-ordinate and manage with sub-committees focussing on specialist areas including prevention, detection, investigation and implementation of consequence management. The steering committee is set to meet quarterly to review and assess progress in combatting corruption. It will also discuss ongoing corruption investigations and “challenges” in finalising them.