The Border Management Authority (BMA) has issued a stern warning to foreign tourists who will be coming to South Africa, using any of the country’s ports of entry – to refrain from committing any acts of criminality because they’ll be deported back to their countries.
Home Affairs will temporarily extend operating times at busy ports of entry to facilitate fast and safe cross-border movement during the Festive period.
Authority Commissioner Mike Masiapata says they’ve also put measures in place to detect illegal goods.
“Starting on Wednesday the 6th of December our primary focus will be to improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations. We will be curbing the illegal movement of persons and goods with a focus on border-organised criminal elements and other general crimes. We have measures in place to detect a confiscate illicit goods and stolen vehicles. We therefore urge all travelers to desist from committing acts of criminality as they will be detected, arrested, declared undesirable and deported.”
In a bolt from the blue, a sting operation by police, Home Affairs, and the Border Management Authority, 443 children were found unaccompanied and without their parents present. 42 buses bound for South Africa were stopped and searched in a sting operation at the Musina border post in Limpopo. They were sent back to Zimbabwe.
The BMA believes this was a case of child trafficking.
Commissioner of @TheBMA_SA Dr Mike @masiapata highlights that during a search operation, busses travelling from Zimbabwe were intercepted carrying 443 children , all under the age of 8…The children were being trafficked into SA.
— The Border Management Authority SA (@TheBMA_SA) December 3, 2023
BMA gears up for expected six million travelers:
Meanwhile, the border management authorities are gearing up for the busiest year since the global pandemic.
Border Management Authority Commissioner says, “In this festive period of 2023–24, we anticipate a full recovery to the pre-COVID average number of about 6 million people moving through our ports.”
To accommodate the volume, personnel have been beefed up at border posts to ensure a smooth process.
“In addition, we will be deploying about 380 personnel at the selected busiest ports of entry. There are also senior members of the border technical committee who have been allocated ports to provide support,” says Masiapata.
Operating hours have also been extended at critical land border posts.
Swartkopfontein border with Botswana will start earlier and close an hour later for the 14–17 December, 22–24 December, 02–04 January 2024, and 13–15 January 2024.
To ensure that load shedding does not create more delays, additional equipment is being brought in.
Masiapata adds, “After consultation with the Department of Public Works, they will be providing additional infrastructure such as temporary lighting, ablution facilities, and JoJo tanks for the provision of water to travelers. In addition, generators with appropriate uninterrupted power systems are well-serviced and ready to provide the required energy during instances of load shedding. We have also deployed an additional IT support team to address system glitches,” .
BMA say their security interventions have resulted in nearly 50 000 people being intercepted from entering the country illegally since April this year.
BMA Commissioner Dr Mike Masiapata: