South Africa

Ramaphosa: illegal immigration ‘exacerbated many of SA’s social and economic problems’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed South Africa’s “vulnerable” borders and said the influx of undocumented foreign nationals has added to many of the country’s social and economic problems.

The president was speaking during the official launch of the Border Management Authority (BMA) in Musina, Limpopo, on Thursday.

Ramaphosa said deficiencies in border management have also enabled corruption and organised cross-border crime to thrive.

“We have faced a problem of fragmentation of powers, responsibility and accountability. Since 1994 the country’s border management has been exercised by different government departments and state agencies, often implementing their respective mandates in isolation.

“A lack of coordination and adequate information-sharing between various management and enforcement authorities have rendered our borders vulnerable,” Ramaphosa said.

Illegal immigration

Ramaphosa said a secure border is important for curbing illegal migration.

“It is important to curb human smuggling and trafficking. The Border Management Authority will help in combatting cross-border crime as well. That is why it has become an important arm of our security apparatus. The constitution of our country declares South Africa belongs to all who live in it.”

Border managment
The BMA is now the third armed service in South Africa after the South African National Defence Force and the South African Police Service. Photo: GCIS

Ramaphosa said one of the challenges is the increase in the number of undocumented foreign nationals entering South Africa.

“This has exacerbated many of the country’s social and economic problems… the Border Management Authority will provide a sustainable solution to the structural challenges of border security, control and coordination.

“As South Africans, we seek to live in peace and harmony with each other and with our neighbours. We seek a better life, free from fear and want.”

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Zimbabwe

Ramaphosa also visited the Beitbridge Border Post with his counterpart from Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We agreed the establishment of the Border Management Authority will be an important tool for the development of the region.

Ramaphosa and Mnangagwa
Ramaphosa visited the Beitbridge Border Post with his counterpart from Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Photo: GCIS

Ramaphosa said trade between the neighbouring countries must improve.

“We are on inspection; a border inspection, to see how our two borders are functioning, because there are so many people visiting from both countries who cross the border. We want to ensure our two border entries function well and enhance the ease of movement of our people and goods. So trade between the two countries can be improved.”

Force to be reckoned with

Ramaphosa said the BMA is now the third armed service in South Africa after the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the South African Police Service.

“It is mandated to perform border management functions within ports of entry as well as the law enforcement area.”

Ramaphosa said to enable its work, the BMA had signed implementation protocols with the South African Revenue Service, Police Service and SA National Defence Force.

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