Thursday, March 28, 2024

SA borders sees increase in deployment ahead of Easter weekend

More Border Management Authority resources will be deployed and operating times will be increased at the country’s ports of entry in anticipation of an increase in movements during the Easter long weekend.

COURTESY: BMA


BMA Commissioner Michael Masiapato briefed the media in Pretoria, on Monday, where he outlined the accelerated security control measures at the ports of entry during the holy period

‘’As was the case in December/January period, previous trends show that the Easter period shows an increase in travel as well as trade activities at ports of entry and border law enforcement area. As a result we are compelled to properly plan and execute a deliberate plan in order to ensure smooth and secure border operations during this period. It is therefore a critical need for the authority to increase its deployment of resources in anticipation of increased movements at the borders, as this presents unique challenges as well as opportunities.’’

Masiapato says the facilitation of movement at the ports of entry is done across five key functional areas of immigration, port health, environmental and agricultural biosecurity, including access control and general law enforcement at the ports of entry and border law enforcement areas.

“During these facilitations, the BMA officials have to secure the ports environment against threats of illegal migration, smuggling, as well as trafficking of persons and goods. With this in mind, we have formulated comprehensive strategies and an operational plan to ensure that our deployments are responsive and ensure efficient port operations, with the requisite capability to deal with any security threats and/or risks, which may arise during the upcoming Easter period,” he said.

COURTESY - BMA: BMA Commissioner, Dr. Michael Masiapato


He says work is being done to deport those who are in South Africa, illegally

“Since our establishment, the BMA has intensified its working relationship with the Immigration Inspectorate, which has the mandate to identify illegal migrants who are already in the country and ensure their processing for deportation to their respective countries,” Masiapato said.

Masiapato says this Easter operational phase contains four phases. He says it anticipates high volumes as many go to various destinations outside the country. BMA Commissioner Michael Masiapato said in this Easter period, they anticipate about one million people moving through the country’s ports.

“The numbers for this year’s Easter period could escalate further as members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), one of our biggest churches in the region, is opening for the annual Easter pilgrimage to Moria, Limpopo for the first time since COVID-19.”

COURTESY: BMA


Masiapato says majority of the people entered via its ports of entries were Beitbridge to Zimbabwe, Lebombo to Mozambique, Groblers Bridge to Botswana, Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg to Lesotho, OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport, Oshoek to Eswatini, Kopfontein to Botswana and Caledonspoort to Lesotho.

Masiapato said the BMA has engaged their counterparts in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini and Botswana, and they have agreed to extending operating hours at certain critical ports, which do not usually operate on a 24-hours basis.

The chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee on Border Management, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has approved the request to extend operating hours for selected ports.

Furthermore, Motsiapato says contingency measure are in place to prevent illegal activates

‘’Serious consequences to any official found in any corrupt activities, such as illegal movement of persons and goods in and out of the Republic. We are issuing a stern warning to travelers and all officials  to not get involved in illegal activities, as they will be caught and harshly punished.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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