The Public Servants Association (PSA), a trade union for public sector workers, have called for government to act swiftly in protecting its borders.
The association believed that a number of criminal activities including human and drug trafficking among others, would not decline as long as the Border Management Authority (BMA) was not up and running.
Dr Nakampe Masiapato and former Major General David Chilembe, were appointed as the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Operations at the BMA, respectively by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September.
At the time, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi expressed confidence in Dr Masiapato and Chilembe.
“Dr Masiapato is going to implement something that he believes in and has the requisite qualifications and experience in.
“Maj Gen Chilembe has 17 years experience in border law enforcement in SAPS and is now under an Authority whose sole focus is on the borders. We believe that both will do well in their new responsibilities,” Motsoaledi had said.
The BMA was expected to ensure efficiency by being the single authority to integrate and coordinate border management in accordance with the Constitution and International Laws.
The appointed commissioners would aid in managing the capacity and security at the borders through the employment of border guard officers, support staff and commission officers.
This week Rueben Maleka, PSA spokesperson said the union was disappointed that the BMA was not implemented, and that the various challenges continue to persist.
“The challenges include criminal activities such as human and drug trafficking, the crossing of illegal and undocumented foreign nationals continues to persist and the working conditions of employees at the borders are appalling.The management of the operations and activities at the borders also remains poor,” said Maleka.
He said the recent protest by truck drivers over the congestion at Beitbridge should have been an indicator that the implementation of the BMA was overdue. It was reported that truck drivers spent days at the Beitbridge Border to either enter or leave SA and or Zimbabwe because of a heavy traffic jam.
“The recent truck drivers' protest and congestion at Beitbridge serves as clear evidence that there is a need to manage borders properly, as such incidents have negative economic and social consequences for the country,” said Maleka.
“The PSA urges the government to fast track the implementation of the BMA so the borders can be professionalised, and to ensure that operations are properly coordinated and managed to curb criminal and corrupt activities,” he said.
The Department of Home Affairs did not respond , despite several attempts to get comment.