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An image of a Limpopo River border crossing published in January this year. (Photos: Supplied)

Border bill fever

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Due to its geographical location Limpopo would to the highest degree be the province to benefit from the proposed establishment of a border management authority to clamp down on what has previously been labelled an escalating crisis of international proportion by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province. But the official opposition in Parliament is concerned about the current perceived feverish promulgation of not only the particular bill but that of other legislation. As concern about the matter on the part of the DA has been expressed prior to a presentation on the Border Management Authority Bill to a select committee meeting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) scheduled for next week, sentiments about the political climate in present-day South Africa were also raised in Cope’s objection to the bill in its current state.
The DA’s representative in the NCOP, Chris Hattingh informed Polokwane Observer that the presentation was due for delivery by the Department of Home Affairs next week after the bill had recently been accepted in the National Assembly. He said the bill in its current form had been opposed by the DA in the National Assembly and the same was most likely to happen in the NCOP, when the party would have the opportunity to make suggestions in terms of changes to specific clauses.
Earlier this year Polokwane Observer published images of undocumented migrants braving the mighty Limpopo to cross over into South Africa. In the process DA Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle was quoted demanding that the factors ensuing from the ever escalating practice of illegal border crossings into the country be addressed at parliamentary level. The images of scores of suspected undocumented migrants crossing the Limpopo River days prior reflected the magnitude of the problem arising from uncontrolled border crossings between Limpopo and its neighbours.
In a statement issued by Congress of the People (Cope) Deputy General Secretary and Parliamentarian Deirdre Carter she mentioned that there was considerable logic and merit in the proposed establishment of a fully-fledged border management agency and with the purpose integrating and coordinating the management of securing the borders of South Africa and protecting national interest.
She further stressed that most would agree that South Africa’s current border management structures, systems and processors were messy, incoherent and dysfunctional, but that Cope was hesitant to support the bill and the establishment of the mega agency given the mal-administrative, corrupt and irrational presidency of Mr Jacob Zuma, growing and continued grand capture and corruption of organs and agencies of the state as well as the inability of the government to develop and maintain capable and functional organs of state.
She continued to raise the question who disregarded national interest and who was the prime player in the capture of the State and the sovereignity of the nation under the current African National Congress (ANC)-led government and under the current discredited, corrupted and irrational President.
“Under a different government and President and under a new Parliament committed to carrying out its duties and oversight, Cope would support this bill. But not as matters stand!!”
Neither Carter nor Cope Secretary for Communications Dennis Bloem could be reached for comment at the time of going to press.
Provincial Government spokesperson Phuti Seloba refuted the perception that the situation had taken on crisis proportions. Prompted to comment on the possibility of the future establishment of a border management agency, Seloba said once the province would be able to properly manage its borders it would start seeing economic spin-offs with cross-border trade being more organised and coordinated.
Seloba was of the opinion that ensuring proper management of borders should not be left to one particular country alone, but that all the neighbours should carry that responsibility.

Story: YOLANDE NEL
>>observer.yolande@gmail.com