MPs approve plans to reopen SA’s border posts
Cape Town - MPs have thrown their weight behind plans by the Department of Home Affairs for the re-opening of borders on February 15 following chaos recently at the Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts.
The portfolio committee on health said on Tuesday they were satisfied about the plans, but they want to see them being implemented on the ground.
Acting head of the Border Management Authority Gene Ravele told the committee that they have been having discussions with other departments to ensure everything falls into place.
He said there were already plans to manage people when they cross into the country once the border gates are re-opened. Beitbridge and Lebombo saw chaotic scenes in December last year when people wanted to cross over to Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The queues at the two borders snaked for several kilometres.
Ravele said the police would also be deployed to deal with those who would not obey the rules and health protocols implemented at the border.
The South African Health Military Service will also be deployed.
Ravele said that from their past experience, there was congestion, and they want to avoid that this time.
“We will be having final discussions with Health and the National Health Laboratory Service on the final capacity to be deployed,” said Ravele.
In a statement, the home affairs committee said after the chaotic scenes before, when they visited the Beitbridge and Lebombo borders, they called on the department to implement plans to prevent the chaos. It said the department must finalise plans to deploy more people to deal with the testing of people coming through the borders.
It said it was satisfied with plans to deal with the shortage of health staff at the border and the issue of tickets to avoid long queues.