President Cyril Ramaphosa pioneers unified border management for South Africa's security and growth

President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched the Border Management Authority (BMA) in Musina, Limpopo, on Friday. File Image

President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched the Border Management Authority (BMA) in Musina, Limpopo, on Friday. File Image

Published Oct 9, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has emphasised the crucial role of maintaining the integrity of South Africa's borders in fostering peace and harmony within the nation and with neighbouring countries.

Ramaphosa described this task as a monumental effort given the extensive border, measuring over 4,800 km and shared with six countries, and the presence of multiple ports of entry.

Last week marked a significant milestone with the launch of South Africa's inaugural integrated and unified Border Management Authority (BMA).

Ramaphosa highlighted the historical and contemporary challenges faced in border management, including past abuses and the need for progressive reforms post-apartheid.

The establishment of the BMA consolidates efforts to secure South Africa's borders, addressing fragmentation resulting from multiple government departments and entities involved in border management.

He emphasised the need to combat cross-border crime, illegal migration, and illicit trade that pose serious threats to national security and the economy.

"The proliferation of cross-border crime, illicit trade, and illegal migration as a result of porous borders presents a serious threat to our national security and economy," said Ramaphosa.

He further stressed the importance of condemning violence against foreign nationals while recognising South Africa's sovereign right to protect its borders and enforce immigration regulations.

The BMA is tasked with enforcing immigration laws and ensuring well-protected borders and well-managed ports of entry.

It now stands as South Africa's third armed service after the South African Defence Force (SANDF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Ramaphosa highlighted the BMA's role in preventing illegal activities, including illegal importation and exit of goods, illegal migration, human smuggling, and cross-border crime.

The BMA will collaborate with various departments and agencies, streamlining border management functions.

The establishment of the BMA is a significant stride towards safer communities, strengthened law enforcement, and economic growth through enhanced trade with neighbouring nations.

Ramaphosa underlined the pivotal role of effective border management in securing the nation and promoting development.