The Citizen (KZN)

SA borders kept busy at Easter


- Reitumetse Makwea – reitumetse­

This is more than 24% of travellers from the previous year.

The Border Management Authority (BMA) says more than one million people moved through South Africa’s ports of entry over the Easter weekend – up more than 24% from the previous year.

In a briefing yesterday, BMA commission­er Dr Michael Masiapato said:

“On the movement of people, we facilitate­d about

1 136 250 travellers across our 71 ports of entry in the period of 10 days between Tuesday, 26 March to Thursday, 4 April.”

He added: “Compared to the 2023 Easter period where we reported 913 859, we noted an addition of 222 391 more travellers facilitate­d, registerin­g a 24% increase in traveller volume.

“As is the norm, OR Tambo Internatio­nal Airport, the Lebombo port of entry to Mozambique and the Beit Bridge port of entry to Zimbabwe remained the top three ports which processed the majority of travellers at 528 042.”

It saw an increase in the number of holidaymak­ers boarding cruise ships at Cape Town harbour to various destinatio­ns.

The BMA processed 36 675 private vehicles, 1 893 minibus taxis and 1 309 buses, as well as passengers from 2 621 aircraft.

A total of 252 vessels were dealt with by officials of which 119 were for “crew changes through the off-port limit mechanism”.

The authority’s personnel also intercepte­d 3 841 people trying to enter the country illegally, some of whom were unaccompan­ied minors.

They issued penalties of R270 000 to bus companies transporti­ng illegal migrants and intercepte­d several cargo consignmen­ts that failed to comply with bio-security regulation­s.

The BMA’s rigorous health screenings at ports of entry screened more than 91 000 travellers for infectious diseases and illegal medication­s and cosmetics were seized.

Law enforcemen­t efforts resulted in the arrest of 143 individual­s for various crimes, including smuggling and bribery attempts.

Additional­ly, joint operations with neighbouri­ng countries led to significan­t intercepti­ons, such as the destructio­n of a smuggling bridge across the Limpopo River.

Since January, the BMA reported that it had refused entry to South Africa to more than 4 000 people who it said did not have the required documentat­ion.

Recent policies have leaned towards restrictin­g migrants, echoing trends seen in countries like Australia and parts of Europe, prompting concerns about their compatibil­ity with the interests of Africa and South Africa.

Migration experts stress the need for a balanced approach that considers border security, human rights and regional developmen­t.

They advocate for addressing the root causes of migration while upholding individual rights.

Commenting on the issue, migration expert Kgothatso Lediga said: “This strategy shifts responsibi­lity for border corruption away from home affairs and places it on individual­s seeking passage, despite the likelihood that officials in positions of authority are the ones exploiting vulnerable individual­s at the borders.”

We noted an addition of 222 391 more travellers

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