Commissioner and Chief Executive Michael Masiapato’s Border Management Authority (BMA) is being primarily funded not directly from National Treasury but four national government departments.
Between them the departments of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD); Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE); Health (DoH); and Home Affairs (DHA) transferred R1 341 224 000 to the BMA, which was officially launched in Musina in early October. This, DHA Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told a Parliamentary questioner, was “in line with the transfer of functions and resources”.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) KwaZulu-Natal provincial representative Elphas Buthelezi was told the money “was not new, but money that was already in the respective departments”.
Elaborating on finances for what South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says is the third armed service of the country’s security apparatus, Motsoaledi said the BMA “requested a budget of R2.6 billion as new money” from National Treasury (NT). The allocation finalised was “less than 10% of the requested amount” making “allocated new money” for the BMA for the current financial year R250 million.
All told this makes the BMA budget R1.59 billion for the financial period ending 31 March 2024 – “R1.3 billion old money and R250 million new money”.
Personnel-wise, the BMA “integrated 2 100 staff members” from the four national departments that are bankrolling the major part of funding for its first operational year.
In July last year Masiapato’s BMA deployed its first cohort of 221 border guards at what was called “vulnerable segments of the borderline, including informal community crossing points”.
The BMA is looking to add 400 more border guards, of which 50 will be coast guards. Their recruitment, government news agency SAnews reported, will “ensure the entity is effective and efficient at all border posts”.
All told South Africa has 72 ports of entry, 53 land-based, 10 at international airports and nine maritime at ports.