Questions raised about border guards

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Centurion-headquartered civil rights organisation AfriForum is unhappy about the newest addition to the country’s security forces – 200 border guards appointed and deployed to date as part of the Border Management Authority (BMA).

Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum community safety spokesman, maintains the legislation to establish the BMA has not been gazetted yet, with the BMA Act published in a Government Gazette dated 21 July 2020.

“Notwithstanding the necessary legislation not being in place, BMA guards have been deployed. They stop and search vehicles and are issued with firearms,” he said adding: “If our conclusions are correct and the guards are deployed before legislation is gazetted, it means government has deployed a vigilante rogue unit with the guards having less arresting power than an ordinary citizen, acting in his or hr personal capacity.

Additionally, he questioned the new “security officers” training and sourcing.

“The border guards are apparently former police and military officials but if they left their respective services in good standing is unknown. The impression created, is AfriForum’s border watch initiative has put pressure on the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to the extent shortcuts were taken in deploying the guards to create the impression the department is addressing serious challenges regarding border security,” he said.

Both DHA and the Department of Defence (DoD) took offence in June when AfriForum indicated its “neighbourhood watch” in the border town Musina was not patrolling the Limpopo River as the physical border. The neighbourhood patrols were active in and around the town and surrounding farms, often used as entry routes by illegal immigrants and smugglers.