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Nearly 4,000 people blocked from entering SA illegally over Easter

Source: Times Lives, 16/04/2024

Border Management Authority SA commissioner Mike Masiapato on Sunday revealed that over a 10-day period during Easter nearly 4,000 people were intercepted attempting to enter the country illegally.
Addressing a media briefing, Masiapato said 2,403 of those intercepted did not have any documents at all. Another 1,019 individuals were refused entry for being undesirable and 419 were found inadmissible to enter the country due to various reasons.

“The majority of those arrested without documents were intercepted at the vulnerable segments of the borderline. They were processed, declared undesirable for five years, and were deported. Most of the inadmissible individuals were found with invalid passports, fraudulent visas or just failed to produce relevant documents such as valid yellow fever certificates, especially those travelling from yellow fever endemic countries,” Masiapato said.

“Incrementally, since the first deployment of the border guards, the authority has managed to intercept and stop more than 281,000 individuals who attempted to enter South Africa illegally.”

Security had been strengthened at the borders during this time, with Masiapato saying 400 junior border guards had been deployed at some land ports to “assist in the critical role of sanitising the border environment and ensuring the uninterrupted facilitation of the legitimate movement of people and goods across the ports.`

On a more positive note, the authority said during the Easter period, they observed a reduction in the number of undocumented and or unaccompanied minors arriving at South African ports of entry.

However on March 28, they intercepted about five children at the Beitbridge port of entry, Masiapato said.

They handed them to colleagues from the department of social development who activated the social workers at Musina.

“They later engaged their Zimbabwean counterparts and processed the children back to Zimbabwe to be reconciled with their respective families. Another incident involving a child was at Grobler’s Bridge port of entry where a woman was attempting to exit South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo via Botswana.

“The supposed ‘mother’ did not have a passport but was carrying an emergency travel document (ETD) which was issued by the embassy of the DRC and the child was completely undocumented. They were both handed over to colleagues from the department of social development who processed and took them to a place of safety in Limpopo,” he said.
South Africa`s borders were busier this year in comparison to last year.

The authority said they facilitated 1,136,250 travellers across 71 ports of entry in 10 days. In the same period last year, 913 859 travellers were processed - meaning there were over 222 000 more travellers this year. Masiapato said as the norm, OR Tambo International Airport, Lebombo port of entry to Mozambique and Beitbridge port of entry to Zimbabwe remained the top three ports which processed the majority of travellers at 528,042.

“OR Tambo facilitated the most travellers at 217,855, followed by Lebombo at 157 069 and ⁠Beitbridge at 153,118 travellers.”

Many holidaymakers opted for ship cruises this year.

The authority said it noted an increase in the number of holidaymakers boarding cruise ships at Cape Town Harbour bound for various destinations.

“In facilitating the movements across all our modalities, we processed 36,675 private vehicles, 1,893 minibus taxis and 1,309 buses. In terms of air travel, we processed over more than 2,621 aircraft at our various international airports,” the authority said,

“For the sea modality, we processed about 252 vessels across our seaports of which 119 were for crew changes through the off-port limit mechanism. This has to do with the facilitation of crew changes for vessels that have not docked at the port. During the implementation of this plan on people movement, we deployed proactive preventive measures for the speedy detection of non-compliances on the set port protocols,” Masiapato said.

South Africa Immigration Company