State of Beitbridge Border Post Emblematic of Lack of Political Will to Tackle South Africa’s Porous Borders

The dysfunctional state of the Beitbridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the Border Management Authority (BMA) was hastily launched without receiving adequate funding or the transfer of relevant personnel, is emblematic of the lack of political will to tackle porous borders in South Africa.

This morning when I visited the Beitbridge Border Post alongside ActionSA Limpopo Premier Candidate, Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla, I saw first-hand the dysfunctional state of the facility which – despite having recently been upgraded – is still plagued by inefficiencies and corruption allegations. Only a few meters from the border post, there are gaping holes in border fencing which easily allows people to cross the border illegally, and for goods and drugs to be smuggled into our communities.

The visit to the border post reaffirmed to me again that the current ruling party does not have the political will to address South Africa’s porous borders, and instead allows its continued decay as the country slips into lawlessness. It is the poorest South Africans who are the biggest casualties of our country’s porous borders as it is in their communities where counterfeit goods which cause disease and drugs are sold first when they enter the country. ActionSA, a pro-poor political party committed to the rule of law, will not allow this continued slide towards lawlessness.

ActionSA has repeatedly asserted that the problem with South Africa’s immigration regime does not lie with the country’s laws but with the application of those laws by state agencies and the failure to secure our borders. Political will is necessary to turn the situation around, but nearly impossible when the ruling party continually undermines South African law. Launching new entities such as the BMA will therefore do little to address the issue unless the rule of law is implemented.

At our inaugural policy conference in September, hundreds of delegates adopted a border control policy which embraces legal immigration for economic growth and prosperity, but when people come to the country they should come here legally and adhere to our laws and procedures.

Vast reforms at the DHA should be undertaken to streamline the process of obtaining visas and work permits for those wishing to enter South Africa legally, while clamping down on corruption and the issuing of fraudulent documentation.

ActionSA believes that instead of rushing to launch new entities to deal with ongoing problems, the government should capacitate existing entities, train personnel and ensure that all spheres of government, from immigration officials to police officers, implement the law without fear and favour. Politicians cannot be exempt.

We simply cannot allow our communities to further wall subject to this rise of lawlessness, and ActionSA will therefore work tirelessly to expose the continued decay in South Africa’s border operations, and present solutions on how we can fix these border posts to help bring the country on a path to prosperity.