South Africa has beefed up security at all its ports of entries to reduce cases of illegal migration and smuggling which are rife during major holidays, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Home Affairs Minister Mr Malusi Gigaba told journalists during a Press conference held in Pretoria yesterday that more security and immigration officers had been deployed to the hot spots.
According to Mr Gigaba, more human resources have been deployed from less busy stations to busy ports like Beitbridge and airports.
The Beitbridge Border between Zimbabwe and South Africa is the busiest inland port on the continent.
Mr Gigaba said the measures were part of their plan to facilitate a smooth flow of traffic through the borders during the Easter Holidays.
“During peak periods, such as Easter and the end of the year, a high volume of people move through our ports and this movement presents a number of security risks and dynamics,” he said.
“It is demonstrated by the following security dynamics and risks: fraudulent or illegal stamping of travel documents by corrupt border officials and the exploitation and manipulation of border systems and business processes.
“In addition, the facilitation of illegal entry of persons and goods perpetuates other security-related risks such as cross-border organised crime, illegal migration and social instability.
“In this regard, the border environment remains vulnerable in terms of civilians and officials who facilitate the illegal and unauthorised movement of persons and goods. We therefore appeal to our clients not to get involved in any of the transgressions and therefore request that no services at any Ports of Entry should be paid for”.
The Minister said the deployment of Intelligence members and DHA Inspectorate at major ports of entry had unearthed a lot of illegal activities.
He said his officials had discovered 29 fraudulently obtained (South African) passports, seven birth certificates, two Identity document, 13 passports (Lesotho) and three fake Immigration stamps from a Zimbabwean at Beitbridge who was using them to facilitate illegal movement of travellers across the border.
“It is also known that there are taxi drivers who arrive at the ports with passports, which are facilitated illegally in order to extend the days of the passports owners in the country.
“A total of 13 320 undocumented travellers reported to Ports of Entry during the 2017/18 Festive Season attempting to cross and the breakdown is as follows: (4820 Mozambicans, 4126 Basotho, 4301 Zimbabweans, 18 Batswana, 16 Swazis, 10 Pakistani, 7 South Africans, 7 Tanzanians, 6 Burundians, 3 Malawians, 3 Zambians, 2 Bangladeshi and 1 Ugandan),”said Mr Gigaba.
He said officials continued to intercepted illegal immigrants and smugglers along its borders.
The Minister said his ministry had also agreed with a number of countries they share borders with to extend operation times.