Game over for Zimbabwean border jumpers as South Africa takes bold action

South Africa's new border security

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has officially launched a new border force aimed at strengthening the country’s porous borders. The inauguration ceremony took place in Musina, a town located near the bustling Beitbridge border post with Zimbabwe.

Ramaphosa highlighted the growing challenge of undocumented foreign nationals, emphasizing how their increasing numbers have exacerbated social and economic issues within the country. Immigration has become one of South Africa’s most pressing political concerns, with calls for the government to take more action in reducing the influx of people from neighboring countries into the region’s most developed nation.

Border management has been disorganized, prompting the need for a more coordinated approach. Until now, border policing was divided among four government departments, leading to a lack of efficiency. However, with the establishment of the Border Management Authority, South Africa now possesses an integrated border policing bureau under a single command and control structure.

The Border Management Authority, which required significant financial investment, becomes South Africa’s third law enforcement agency after the police and army. Hundreds of border guards have been recruited and will collaborate with the defense force to monitor the country’s ports of entry, including seaports, land borders, and international airports.

Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, also attended the launch and held discussions with President Ramaphosa, emphasizing their countries’ shared desire for peaceful coexistence as neighbours.

Ramaphosa emphasized that the Border Management Authority plays a crucial role in harnessing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area while tackling illegal migration and human trafficking.

The immigration debate in South Africa is often marred by violence, xenophobia, and misinformation, as unemployed South Africans sometimes perceive undocumented migrants as competition for their jobs.

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