New tighter laws for South Africa's border control
Politics / 11 January 2020, 1:43pm / SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI
Cape Town - The home affairs committee has backed new regulations on refugees saying they would tighten the immigration system.
This comes after Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi recently gazetted the regulations.
The regulations would be among other statutes that would ban refugees from political activity.
The Refugee Amendment Act regulations came into effect at the start of the year.
Chairperson of the committee Bongani Bongo said this was a step in the right direction and the regulations would tighten the immigration system.
“We believe that the regulations form part of the broader efforts that are aimed at strengthening the immigration system and ensure that the system is not manipulated for nafarious reasons.
“We call on the department to properly train its employees on the new regulations and ensure that they are adequately and fully implemented,” said Bongo.
The gazetting of the regulations comes after the National Council of Provinces (NCoP) approved the Border Management Authority Bill.
The new bill would create a single agency to man the borders of the country.
Politicians had for many years complained about the country’s porous borders and wanted a single agency that would tighten control at borders.
When the Border Management Authority Bill was tabled a few years ago National Treasury had complained it would cut the powers of the South African Revenue Service to collect taxes at the border.
The police also complained that the new law would take away some of their functions.
But they were assured by the department of home affairs that the new agency would not strip any entity or department of its powers.
The EFF and DA also criticised this law in the NCoP.
The EFF said the bill would create a parallel structure to collect taxes.
The DA said the country would not have the money to implement it over 15 years.
It would cost between R3.8 billion and R10.2bn to implement.
On the gazetting of the regulations for the Refugee Act, Bongo said this would strengthen the entry requirements into the country.
He said the regulations must ensure the sovereignty and security of the country and give refugees protection.
“We believe strongly as the committee that these regulations will certainly deter the tide of corruption and fraud in the system and maintain on a sustainable basis the balance between the three responsibilities,” he said.
Others criticised the regulations saying they would limit the movement and entry of refugees and asylum seekers into the country.
But Bongo said those slamming the regulations did not provide alternatives or viable options.