Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has welcomed the commendable management of South Africa’s borders by the Border Management Authority (BMA).
This follows a successful sting operation at the Beitbridge port of entry on Saturday.
The BMA border guards, the Counter Corruption and Security Services Branch of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) conducted a sting operation at the port of entry wherein 42 buses from Zimbabwe were stopped and searched.
During the search, 443 unaccompanied minors under the age of eight were found in the buses being brought into South Africa with no consent of parents or guardians.
“The hard work of the Border Management Authority is commendable, showing we’re pulling out all stops to prevent acts of crime and illegal entry into the country. Clearly the BMA is hard at work and is making inroads in effective border law enforcement,” Minister Motsoaledi said in a statement.
All persons in the 42 buses were refused entry into South Africa, and after engaging with the Zimbabwean Authorities, they were all taken back to Zimbabwe, including the children.
All the children who were found, were handed over to the Zimbabwean authorities for processing.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms these acts of criminality especially where the interest of the child is at stake. It’s unacceptable that these minors were not with their parents or guardians throughout this ordeal.
“Protecting children, especially in this period of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign, is paramount,” Minister Motsoaledi said.
On the same night, 150 adult Zimbabwean nationals were also apprehended and prevented from entering the country.
“The BMA, Home Affairs officials and members of the SAPS are on the ground establishing all relevant details of the incident,” BMA Commissioner, Dr Mike Masiapato said.
“Further work is being done and will continue to be done to ensure detection of all perpetrators in order to bring all of them to book,” he said.
“The entire episode at Beitbridge shows great achievements of the BMA and in a very short space of time. It’s a good sign in tackling sharply the outcry on porous borders.
“We’ll continue relentlessly to act swiftly in enforcing immigration and other laws in the interest of national security and safety of all persons in the country, especially during this peak period, the festive season, and beyond,” Minister Motsoaledi said. – SAnews.gov.za