Protecting SA’s porous borders tops Parliament’s list after recess

SOUTH Africa’s fragmented border management model will be one of the first issues addressed by Parliament following the recess for the local government elections.

The portfolio committee on home affairs would begin processing the Border Management Authority Bill on Tuesday.

"Public comments will ensure that the bill is strengthened and fits the purpose with which it was intended to achieve‚" chairperson Lemias Mashile said on Sunday. He added that stakeholders and the public were invited to make submissions.

This bill — which the committee noted at its last meeting in June was a modified name as "the authority was called the agency in the former draft of the bill" — was drafted to establish a Border Management Authority that would remedy the fragmented border management model currently being utilised.

"This fragmented model has resulted in a variety of challenges in relation to control of the country’s borders. The bill seeks to establish a single implementing entity under a single executive authority‚" Mashile said.

The bill was necessitated by "inefficiencies resulting from having many government departments co-ordinating and often duplicating the securing of SA’s land‚ sea and air borders (and contributing) ... to the porous 5,244km border"‚ the committee noted in June.

"The bill and related authority aim to centralise the border-related responsibilities of‚ among other things‚ the Department of Home Affairs‚ the South African National Defence Force and (South African) Police Service‚ Customs of the Revenue Service as well as aspects of the departments of agriculture‚ environment and health."

The departments of home affairs‚ police and finance are to give briefings on Tuesday.

Picture: A truck and trailer loaded with 30 tons of maize drives into a Beitbridge customs and immigration control point on the South African border with Zimbabwe. File picture: REUTERS

After briefings‚ public hearings and written submissions‚ the bill was expected to be finalised in the last quarter of 2016 or early in 2017.

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