Home South African MPs approve plans to reopen SA’s border posts

MPs approve plans to reopen SA’s border posts

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The portfolio committee on health says it is satisfied with the plans and wants to see them being implemented on the ground

A truck arrives in South Africa from Zimbabwe through the Beitbridge border post. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) have thrown their weight behind plans by the Department of Home Affairs for the reopening of borders on February 15 following chaos recently at the Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts.

The portfolio committee on health said on Tuesday that it was satisfied with the plans and added that it wanted to see them being implemented on the ground.

The acting head of the Border Management Authority, Gene Ravele, told the committee that they have been holding discussions with other departments to ensure that everything falls into place.

He said there were already plans to manage people when they cross into the country once the border gates are reopened.

Beitbridge and Lebombo saw chaotic scenes in December last year when people wanted to cross over to Zimbabwe and Mozambique respectively.

The queues at the two borders snaked for several kilometres.

Ravele said the police would also be deployed to deal with those who would not obey the rules and health protocols implemented at the border.

The South African Health Military Service will also be deployed.

Ravele said that from their past experience there was congestion, and they want to avoid that this time.

“We will be having final discussions with Health and the National Health Laboratory Service on the final capacity to be deployed,” said Ravele.

In a statement, the home affairs committee said that after the chaotic scenes observed before, when it visited the Beitbridge and Lebombo borders, it called on the department to implement plans to prevent the chaos. It said the department must finalise plans to deploy more people to deal with the testing of people coming through the borders.

It said it was satisfied with plans to deal with the shortage of health staff at the border and the issue of tickets to avoid long queues.

Political Bureau