Law enforcement authorities geared up for Easter weekend travellers

Thousands of ZCC worshippers converged in Moria in Polokwane for their Easter celebrations. Picture : Masi Losi

Thousands of ZCC worshippers converged in Moria in Polokwane for their Easter celebrations. Picture : Masi Losi

Published Mar 26, 2024


As scores of South Africans get ready for the upcoming Easter pilgrimages this weekend, the Border Management Authority(BMA) has bolstered its efforts to secure the country’s borders through the addition of 400 junior border guards.

The border guards will be assisting members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), South African Revenue Service (SARS), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Cross Border Road Transport Agency, and various traffic authorities in guarding the countries 52 land ports of entry, 10 international airports and 9 seaports.

According to BMA Commissioner Dr Mike Masiapato most of the additional junior guards will be deployed specifically at Beitbridge border post, Lebombo, Fiksburg, Maseru Bridge, Telle Bridge, Kosi Bay, and Grobler’s Bridge.

Masiapato was speaking at a briefing in Hatfield, Pretoria, yesterday where he unveiled the authority’s four-phase Easter Operational Plan, which he said saw stakeholders planning for the upcoming Easter weekend starting from January 25 and concluding today (March 25).

This year’s Easter period will run from March 29 to April 1.

The commissioner said as part of their planning efforts, they conducted situational analyses at both the port and regional levels to identify the unique requirements of each entry point.

Zion Christian Church (ZCC) annual pilgrimage to Moria City, Limpopo, South Africa, over the Easter weekend. | Independent Newspapers Archives

As a result of this, he said they had identified a need for the extension of operating hours for certain ports which did not operate on a 24-hour basis.

Also taking into consideration the historical data of the 2023 Easter period which saw 913 859 people crossing through the country’s borders, the commissioner said this year they were anticipating as many as one million people to move through the country’s ports.

Masiapato added that with the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) opening its doors the first time since Covid-19 for its Easter pilgrimage, they were expecting even more people to move through the ports.

“Upon realising the need for additional capacity we increased our human resource deployment for immigration, law enforcement duties as well as providing capacity for operational and tactical support across our ports of entry. We will be deploying the 400 additional junior border guards who are currently at college.

“We’re deploying them for experiential learning on the port of entry as they have been trained across all of the various activities that take place at the ports and our targeted ports are the busiest ports of entry to assist with the delivery of services.”

In addition to the junior members, a number of senior members from the BMA and other law-enforcement entities have also been allocated individual ports to provide support to the operational teams on the ground.

Masiapata further took the opportunity to warn public transporters not to transport illegal migrants across the ports of entry and border law-enforcement areas.

“Further, we will continue to impose administrative fines on various transporters, and engagements have been held with bus companies that have been noted as regular transgressors in transporting illegal migrants,” he said.