New border agency boss to be appointed soon
Cape Town - Deputy Home Affairs Minister Njabulo Nzuza has confirmed to Parliament the appointment of the head of a new agency that will man the country’s borders will take place soon.
Nzuza told the Home Affairs portfolio committee on Tuesday the department wants a single command and control structure which will secure all ports of entry.
The Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill was passed by Parliament last year to create a single agency that would man the borders.
The BMA Bill had been in Parliament for several years and a few years ago it was ramped up and last year the national legislature approved it.
Nzuza said the appointment of the new head of the BMA would be an important step in the drive to put the agency into operation.
“When we came in we made sure the legislation was passed and beyond that the legislation was passed. We are in a period where we are developing regulations now. We have made sure the proclamation is signed for us to start the process of the appointment of the commissioner,” said Nzuza.
“We do have an acting commissioner, but now we have to make sure that we pass regulations so that all the aspects of the BMA Act then come into operation,” he said.
He further highlighted that the department welcomed the oversight visit by the portfolio committee to the Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts during the festive period where there was a congestion of traffic trying to go into Zimbabwe and Mozambique respectively.
“We must welcome the oversight visit that was done by the committee because it helps to be on par with the challenges that we are facing in our border environment so that when we make proposals to the committee and request support to the committee it is something on the basis that they have experienced,” he said.
South Africa has been implementing health protocols since the outbreak of the virus.
In the discussions political parties called for the urgent implementation of the BMA Act to ensure there were tighter measures at the borders.
Mosa Chabane of the ANC said they were still waiting for the regulations on the BMA Act to come to the committee to be processed.
Liezl van der Merwe of the IFP said there should be a plan from the government to fund and operationalise the BMA agency.
She said the implementation plan of the agency must not be lost by the department and that the agency must come into effect.