SA is losing revenue due to inefficient management and crime syndicates corrupting state security officials at the country’s ports of entry, and the government is working on tightening security, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.
Addressing journalists at Beitbridge border post after he had toured the facility, Gigaba said government was working on legislation to improve security and movement measures at the ports.
Gigaba conceded South Africa was battling to deal with corruption and to reduce the amount of counterfeit goods which came into the country via its various ports of entry.
On some occasions when crime syndicate members had been caught, they had been found to be in collusion with Home Affairs officials and police, he added.
Gigaba said the Border Management Agency Bill would be finalised next year to pave the way for an agency to take over the management of the country’s ports of entry.
“We lose lot of revenue from inefficient operation at the present moment. We lose a lot of revenue because of the criminal syndicates,” said Gigaba.
Prior to the establishment of the Border Management Agency, a team would conduct feasibility studies.
Gigaba said a team of engineers would be assembled to guide the department on how to improve security measures around the ports of entry.
According to the department, five land ports of entry were due to be overhauled to enhance movement in and out of the country.
“Once they have made that assessment and provide us with proper advice on what needs to be done to improve ports of entry, we will come into an environment of infrastructure and system management,” he said.
He said the Border Management Agency Bill would be forwarded for discussion at parliament.
Gigaba said the Border Management Agency would feature a paramilitary unit while the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would focus on protecting the country’s sovereignty.
However, the agency would also feature, among other aspects, Home Affairs, the police, the defence force, the South African Revenue Service and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
But, said Gigaba, this would come to an end once the agency came fully into operation in 2017.
State Security minister David Mahlobo said he believed government was on the right track to end corruption and the illegal movement of counterfeit goods in the country. –ANA