Cape Town - New border guards from the Border Management Authority, established to crack down on porous borders, will hit the ground running next week.
This was announced by Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in Parliament on Tuesday where he said the first group of 200 border guards would be unveiled.
He said they would be sent to problematic areas on the borderline.
This is the first step towards establishing a fully-fledged agency focusing on the country’s borders.
Motsoaledi described the issue of immigration as the elephant in the room, which he was busy addressing.
He told MPs that the country’s immigration system needed to be overhauled and he was implementing that plan.
Dr Mike Masiapata was the commissioner for the BMA and he was assisted by two deputies.
“We have appointed Dr Mike Masiapata and two deputy commissioners.
“They are busy everyday and they have already finalised the recruitment of the first cohort of 200 border guards and the border guards are coming next week for orientation and the deployment at selected areas of the borderline where there are problems,” said Motsoaledi.
He said the BMA would from the start of the new financial year be a standalone entity.
Now it is part of the Department of Home Affairs, but from April next year it will be a standalone department in charge of the borders.
The BMA was in the making for many years until it was finally signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2020.
Masiapata was then appointed to head the new agency.
It is expected to deal with the porous borders that lawmakers and other stakeholders have raised concerns about for many years.
Motsoaledi said they wanted to ensure that the issue of immigration was properly addressed in the country.
This would require the overhaul of the immigration system.