The Border Management Authority (BMA) says it is implementing a comprehensive plan including longer border post operating times and more boots on the ground for its festive season operations.
This according to the BMA Commissioner Dr Michael Masiapato who was addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday.
He said the BMA expects at least six million people to move through South Africa’s borders during the festive season.
Masiapato said the BMA has engaged with South Africa’s six immediate neighbouring countries on the “synchronisation of processes and other work modalities” including working hours.
“While some of our busiest ports already operate on a 24-hour basis, the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has already approved our request to extend the operating hours on other identified critical ports on certain dates that we agreed with our immediate neighbouring countries,” he said.
The following working hours will now be operational at ports of entry:
- Grobler’s Bridge to Botswana: 6am to midnight on 15, 16, 22 and 23 December
- Swartkopfontein to Botswana: 6am to 8pm from 14 to 17 December, 22 to 24 December, 2 to 4 January as well as 13 and 15 January
- Kosi Bay to Mozambique: 6am to 6pm from 14 December to 14 January
- Mahamba to Swaziland: 7am to midnight on 15, 23, 24 December
- Jeppes Reef to Swaziland: 7am to 10pm from 22 December to 2 January
- Mananga to Swaziland: 7am to 8pm from 18 to 23 December
- Sanipass to Lesotho: 6am to 8pm on 15, 16 December as well as 21 to 24 December
- Caledonspoort: 6am to midnight 15, 16 and 23 December and 2 January. On 22 December, the port will operate for 24 hours.
- Van Rooyensgate: 6am to midnight on 15, 16 and 24 December as well as 8 January. It will operate for 24 hours on 23 December and 2 January
- Monontsa Pass: 7am to 6pm on 23 and 24 December as well as 2 and 3 January
- Pekabridge: 8am to 6pm on 23 and 24 December as well as 2 and 3 January
“In addition, we will be deploying about 380 additional personnel at the selected busiest ports of entry to assist with the delivery of services and provision of technical support during this period. There are also a number of senior members from the Border Technical Committee (BTC) who have been allocated individual ports for their visitation during the identified critical dates to provide support to the operational teams on the ground,” he said.
Masiapato said additional infrastructure has also been sought including generators to mitigate the effects of load shedding on operations.
“After engagement with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), they will be providing additional infrastructure such as temporary lighting, ablution facilities, special temporary barricades, Jojo tankers for the provision of water to the travellers at the identified critical land ports.
“In addition, generators with the appropriate un-interrupted power system are well serviced ready to provide required energy during instances of load shedding. We have also deployed additional IT support teams to various ports to immediately address any kind of system glitches experienced on the ground,” Masiapato said.
He emphasised that the BMA will also be keeping a close eye on any illegal activity.
“We would also be focusing on curbing illegal movement of persons and goods with specific focus on cross-border organised criminal elements and other general crimes perpetrated in the ports of entry and border law enforcement area.
“We have put all measures in place to detect and confiscate narcotics, contraband, illicit goods, and even stolen vehicles. We therefore want to urge all travellers to desist from committing any act of criminality as they will be detected, arrested, declared undesirable, and then deported.
“On the corridors leading to our land ports of entry, we would like to urge all drivers to desist from disregarding existing traffic laws, including instructions from the traffic officers on the ground as that has the potential to cause traffic jams which poses serious challenges of traffic flow towards our ports entry. Drivers are encouraged to accordingly follow the que and in no time, they would be assisted,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za