Sting operation prevents trafficking of 443 children

Sunday, December 3, 2023

A joint sting operation between the Border Management Authority (BMA), Home Affairs and the South African Police Service has stopped more than 40 buses travelling into South Africa through the Beitbridge Border Post carrying children who are alleged to have been trafficked.

This was revealed by Commissioner of the BMA Dr Michael Masiapato during a press briefing on Sunday.

“They were able to stop and search about 42 buses trying to enter the republic and out of that we found about 443 children under the age of eight that were in those buses without any parent or any guardian. Fairly, they were being trafficked into South Africa.

“We were able to take them out of those buses. We were then able to engage with the Zimbabwean officials and we handed them back to Zimbabwe for processing back into the country,” he said.

Masiapato also revealed some of the successes that the BMA were able to achieve in their work protecting the country’s borders.

These include the interception of more than 44 000 thousand individuals attempting to illegally enter South Africa.

“We got them arrested. We got them fingerprinted, we declared them undesirable, and we got them deported on the spot. Further, about 100 452 individuals overstayed in the country. We got the hit from our movement control system when they arrived at the ports. We then declared them undesirable, and we banned them from entering South Africa for the next five years.

“About 98 150 individuals were refused entry into the country for various reasons. Some of them were criminal elements who are listed on the Interpol list for having committed different types of crimes in other jurisdictions in the world,” he said.

 Other achievements by the BMA are:

  • The arrest of more than 2200 people for various crimes around the ports of entry
  • Detection of about 279 high value stolen vehicles as criminals tried to exit them from South Africa
  • Detection and interception of some 396 blasting cartridges commonly used during cash in transit robberies
  • Interception of some 641kg of dagga at eSwatini and Lesotho border
  • Interception of 8.1kg of the date rape drug, Rohypnol

“This is a summary of some of the key success of the [BMA] having been realised in a short space of time. We however commit to do more and fully address the country’s perennial problem of porous borders,” Masiapato said. –