South African officials have arrested hundreds of undocumented foreign nationals from Zimbabwe and other SADC countries at the Beitbridge Border Post at Musina in Limpopo.
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, was at the Beitbridge Border Post monitoring the situation. He said:
From the 11th of April until today, which is the whole week, more than 700 people, who were trying to cross illegally, have been arrested and sent back.
As you can see, we have deployed here at the border. But, by chance, there might be some people who escape and those who are caught at two roadblocks … there’s a roadblock just when you enter Musina and there’s a roadblock 30 kilometres outside Musina next to the Baobab plaza.
So, the two roadblocks will clean up whatever has, somehow by any chance, escaped here from the border.
Border Management Authority’s Commissioner, Mike Masiapato, said that there will ensure that the vandalised fence along the border with Zimbabwe is rehabilitated. Said Masiapato:
The issue of the fence is one of those critical issues that we’re actually going to look at.
One thing that I can confirm now is that all the infrastructure in the land borders particularly is going to be transferred from the Department of Public Works into Border Management Authority.
So, at that point, we’re going to start taking over this kind of responsibility in terms of maintaining all the infrastructure around and all of that.
So obviously, we are still going to be engaging with the National Treasury around financing-related issues.
And out of that in the longer term, we’ll be able to start rehabilitating the fence.
He said the department’s Border Management Authority will deploy 200 newly-appointed guards to the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The guards will work together with the members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on a 24-hour basis to stop illegal border crossings.