Porous Beitbridge Border could be fixed if there was political will, says ActionSA

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

Published Nov 28, 2023


ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has decried the state of the Beitbridge Border Post following his visit to the problematic border that connects South Africa with its neighbour, Zimbabwe, on Monday.

He described it as dysfunctional, adding that the country’s’ law enforcement and border management personnel were working under trying conditions.

“The dysfunctional state of the Beitbridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the Border Management Authority (BMA) was hastily launched without receiving adequate funding or the transfer of relevant personnel, is emblematic of the lack of political will to tackle porous borders in South Africa,” Mashaba said.

In the past, Mashaba has complained of the porous borders and with the recent visit, he said the problems were too big to ignore.

“This morning (yesterday) when I visited the Beitbridge Border Post, alongside ActionSA Limpopo premier candidate Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla, I saw first-hand the dysfunctional state of the facility which, despite having recently been upgraded, is still plagued by inefficiencies and corruption allegations.

“Only a few metres from the border post are gaping holes in the border fencing which easily allows people to cross the border illegally, and for goods and drugs to be smuggled into our communities,” he said.

Mashaba accused the ANC of having failed the citizens of this country by allowing the state of the border and immigration management to decay.

“The visit to the border post reaffirmed to me again that the current ruling party does not have the political will to address South Africa’s porous borders, and instead, allows its continued decay as the country slips into lawlessness.

“It is the poorest South Africans who are the biggest casualties of our country’s porous borders as it is in their communities where counterfeit goods, which cause disease, and drugs are sold first when they enter the country.

“ActionSA, a pro-poor political party committed to the rule of law, will not allow this continued slide towards lawlessness.”

He said, the laws of the country were not the problem.

“ActionSA has repeatedly asserted that the problem with South Africa’s immigration regime does not lie with the country’s laws but with the application of those laws by state agencies and the failure to secure our borders. Political will is necessary to turn the situation around, but nearly impossible when the ruling party continually undermines South African law. Launching new entities such as the BMA will therefore do little to address the issue unless the rule of law is implemented,“ he said.

The party has called for vast reforms to the laws, as well as reforms to the department of home affairs. This comes just two weeks after Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi proposed stringent measures to the immigration laws, through a white paper on citizenship, immigration and refugee laws.

“Vast reforms at the DHA should be undertaken to streamline the process of obtaining visas and work permits for those wishing to enter South Africa legally, while clamping down on corruption and the issuing of fraudulent documentation.

“ActionSA believes that instead of rushing to launch new entities to deal with ongoing problems, the government should capacitate existing entities, train personnel and ensure that all spheres of government, from immigration officials to police officers, implement the law without fear and favour. Politicians cannot be exempt,” Mashaba said.

The Star

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