SA Parliament adopts report on Border Management Authority Bill

Several media reports have recently published misleading information in regard to the South African Revenue Service and the Border Management Authority Bill. The following statement by Parliamentary Communication Services offers context in the matter –

Parliament adopts report on Border Management Authority Bill

Border Management Authority bill takes another step towards becoming law

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs adopted a report on the Border Management Authority Bill [B9B-2016] and will recommend to the house to adopt and pass the Bill into an Act of Parliament.

The adoption follows the recommendations and amendments made by the Select Committee on Security and Justice while processing the Bill. The committee agreed that the amendments are valid and strengthen the Bill to ensure that it delivers on its mandate.

An important amendment made by the National Council of Provinces is to highlight the consensus reached between the Minister of Finance and Minister of Home Affairs, which removes the South African Revenue Services from the application of the Act. “We appreciate that the two departments have reached a consensus on how to handle the custom-related issues at port of entries, which has been a major sticking point impeding the completion of the Bill,” said Advocate Bongani Bongo, the Chairperson of the committee.

The committee welcomes the fact that as a result of this consensus, the Bill commits both the Department of Home Affairs and National Treasury to agree on an implementation protocol to enable seamless functioning and co-ordination of border management areas within six months of the implementation of the Act.

The committee is of the considered view that the passing of the BMA Bill is a step in the right direction to secure our borders and end fragmentation within this environment. The committee will table its report before the National Assembly and recommend that the Bill be passed and sent to the President for assent into law.

Regarding the performance of the department in quarter three and four, the committee notes the piloting of an e-visa in Kenya. While the committee is aware that this pilot phase should have been rolled out to six missions across the world, it nonetheless welcomes the announcement that the pilot will be extended to India, Nigeria and China in the course of this quarter. The committee has urged the department to fix teething problems identified and to conclude the piloting stage with the aim of introducing the programme.

The fight against corruption is an important pillar in strengthening accountability and good governance. In line with this, the committee welcomes the announcement that 86.6% of the department’s fraud and corruption cases are finalised within 90 days. The committee continues to emphasise the need for the speedy finalisation of corruption cases and the sanctioning of departmental employees.

The committee will continue to monitor the implementation of the Annual Performance Plan to ensure delivery of services to the people.

For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson:

Committee’s Media Officer
Malatswa Molepo 
Parliamentary Communication Services

18 February 2020

Custom’s Detector Dog Unit boosted by 52 new teams

SARS Customs North West Detector Dog Unit handlers. [SARS]

SARS Customs North West Detector Dog Unit handlers. [SARS]

Fifty two dogs and handlers were trained and deployed in the first phase of the SARS Customs Detector Dog Unit’s (DDU) capacity building programme. Trainees were for units from Limpopo, North West and Mpumulanga, Or Tambo International Airport and Durban. “This figure includes new dog handlers, replacement of old or sick dogs and refresher training of dogs not up to the required working standard, explained Hugo Taljaard, the senior manager of Custom’s Detector Dog Unit.

There are now 90 regionally based detector dogs and handlers deployed in the country. Most dogs are dual trained to detect different substances and /or goods. They have the capacity to detect the following substances/goods hidden in vehicles, vessels, aircraft, cargo, containers, mail, rail, luggage and buildings:

  • Explosives, firearms and ammunition
  • Narcotics (Mandrax, heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, cannabis and Ecstasy)
  • Endangered species (Rhino horn, ivory, wet / dry abalone, crayfish and lion bones)
  • Currency
  • DVDs
  • Copper wire
  • Tobacco products
  • Cell phones.

At the end of phase 1, which ran from April 2013 to January 2014, a ceremony was held in Zeerust to hand out certificates to the members of the newly-formed North West Detector Dog Unit.

“The commitment, passion and drive of the trainees must be acknowledged as this contributed to the successful training of the new handlers and dogs. The teams performed extremely well, achieving pass rates ranging from between 92% to 99.80% and this could only be achieved with positive team work and the drive to go the extra mile and make a difference. The teams proved their commitment in playing an impactful role in the prevention of smuggling,” Hugo said.

The cooperation between different government agencies also played a major role in the successful training and operational deployment of the Customs dogs and handlers during Phase 1 and will continue during Phase 2 and 3, he added.

Phase 2 of the programme is planned to get underway on 7 April 2014 with the establishment of three new units – at Port Elizabeth, Ladybrand and Ermelo.

The DDU has been a major success story for SARS in recent years, providing expert training to several Customs and Border agencies in the region. The topic has also invoked significant interest amongst readers and followers of this blog. It needs to be stressed, however, that the recruitment and deployment of dog trainers in SARS is currently all achieved through training and up-skilling of officers within the organisation. No external recruitment drives have occurred. The nature and extent of Customs Modernisation places SARS in the fortunate position of being able to redeploy staff to specialised roles such as the DDU.

Source: SARS