What role for the BMA?

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Police minister Nathi Mthethwa says the envisaged role of the Border Management Agency (BMA) “is primarily the development of an entity to manage and govern the operational functioning of the environment.”

Mthethwa was answering a question from Inkatha Freedom Party MP Velaphi Ndlovu who asked him what the police’s role would be in the border environment following President Jacob Zuma announcing the creation of a BMA in his State-of-the-Nation address last June.
“With specific emphasis on the role of the police in the agency, the functioning would be determined by the various deliberations to include the benchmarks on accepted practices, particularly the government initiatives to be reached or undertaken,” Mthethwa said in a written answer tabled in Parliament late last month.

Zuma has ordered the National Intelligence Agency to take a lead in defining the role, function, competency and structure of the agency. A recent National Intelligence Estimate reportedly identified the country’s porous borders as its top national security threat.
“The decision envisaged will certainly require considerable funding in the creation of the BMA and possible recommendations should be pursued to National Treasury with the view of diverting funding meant for the management of the current coordination structure (BCOCC) to alleviate challenges regarding the creation of this structure,” the police minister’s answer added.

The BCOCC – Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee – is currently headed by SA Revenue Service (SARS) officials but as the name suggests only has a coordinating function. It does not have authority to mandate compliance or a budget to address lacunae in the present system.

Departments and agencies represented on the BCOCC other than the SARS (customs and excise), include health, agriculture, police, defence, state security and home affairs.



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