President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is confident that South Africa will be able to address cross-border crimes across all ports of entry by implementing a range of complimentary measures.
The President said this when he fielded oral questions at the National Council of Provinces in Parliament on Thursday.
“Through the application of a range of complimentary measures, I am certain that we will be able to address issues of illegal migration, drug and human trafficking and other cross border crimes.
“These measures are all meant to ensure that indeed, we create a much safer environment for the people of South Africa,” he said.
ANC Limpopo’s Shahidabibi Shaikh had asked the President whether, in light of the concerns that were raised regarding border control and security to deter illegal migration, the proliferation of drugs – among other cross-border crimes – government was developing any mechanisms or processes to strengthen border control.
The President said while a Border Management Authority Bill has been introduced in Parliament with an aim of establishing an Authority that will manage all the security challenges at SA’s ports of entry, among others, a border policing strategy is being implemented to ensure effective and efficient combating of transnational crimes and other crimes around the border environment.
“The strategy is being implemented in phases. In addition to the police and the Department of Home Affairs, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plays a critical role at various ports of entry,” he said.
Through the National Security Strategy, the SANDF has developed a long-term strategic view to focus on the specific threats to the sovereignty of the Republic and the authority of the state.
As part of this strategy, the President said, 15 army sub-units have been deployed for border safeguarding.
“More, however, still needs to be done in this regard. The deployment of personnel needs to be augmented with resources such as high-tech equipment to cover such an extensive borderline – be it on land, sea or air.
“We also continue to sustain long-range maritime and air patrols, particularly in the Mozambique channel, and extend such patrols to the West Coast.
“The SANDF is working with those countries that share borders with South Africa through bilateral defence and security arrangements to improve coordination. Government has deployed the significant amount of resources and put in place extensive measures to control our borders but the extent of the challenges and the sheer length of our land and sea borders shows that much more still needs to be done,” he said.
The President said central to the challenges of illegal migration and cross-border crime is the better management of the country’s borders and ports of entry.
“But with the recent attacks on both our own nationals and foreign nationals demonstrated, there is also a need for more effective and consistent policing within SA, improved engagements with affected communities and cooperation with countries from which many of the foreign nationals come from.
“A good example of the latter is the agreements reached with the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the state visit of his Excellency President Buhari last week. The two countries agreed, for example, to establish a joint-warning mechanism that will enable us to share information to also respond to concerns that maybe raised with a view to ensure that we avoid a type of situation that we experienced a few weeks ago.”