South Africa will deploy a special force to the border with Mozambique to stop the “huge problem” of illegal immigration from the Portuguese-speaking country, announced today the South African Interior Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.
“It is not only because of covid-19 that illegal entry is happening here, and perhaps the situation is much more serious at this point, but it is something that we have been observing for some time and will be resolved with the deployment of new full-time border guards, ”the official declared to the press.
The minister said that illegal crossings at that point in South African territory “have been happening long before covid-19, because they are people who do not have the requirements to remain legally in the country”.
“It is a huge problem, and one of the reasons why the Government decided to create a specific entity because we recognize that we have porous borders”, he stressed.
In this sense, the South African Interior Minister, during a visit to that border post this morning, said that the new security contingent to be deployed on the border with Mozambique will be managed by the newly created Border Management Authority.
The new entity, said the minister, will manage illegal immigration, and is currently being equipped with “the appropriate human resources”.
“On my last visit, I found in Mbuzini that the military [of the National Defense Force of South Africa] had no rest in blocking people who tried to enter the country illegally, but I can assure you that illegal entry into South Africa they are not entirely due to covid-19 ”, he explained.
“This border post was the first one I visited when I was appointed Minister of the Interior in 2019, and our ambassador here told me that the number of flights from Dubai has increased exponentially in a week because people from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Somalia , among others, would be using the [airline] Emirates to enter Mozambique and then cross illegally to South Africa ”, said Aaron Motsoaledi.
The Lebombo border post, the second busiest in the country after Beitbridge, on the border with Zimbabwe, was one of the 20 land posts reopened today by South Africa after a closure of about two months to contain the covid-19, which has already caused more than 47,000 deaths and about 1.5 million infections in the country, the most affected by the pandemic on the African continent.
“Anyone who wants to visit the country has to present a valid negative covid-19 certificate and I think we made it easier by placing the antigen test here because the PCR test is very expensive. We are doing this particularly for those who enter here, if they do not have the financial means to do the antigen test, then there will unfortunately be no other way to help ”, said the minister.
According to a source for Southern and East African freight forwarders, the covid-19 rules introduced by the South African Health authorities, which require the presentation of a negative covid-19 PCR test valid up to 72 hours before entering the country, or an antigen test for 170 rand (9 euros) at the border, was one of the main reasons for the ‘congestion’ seen before the main border between the two countries closed in January, since the PCR test is more expensive in Maputo, about 5,000 meticais or 1,000 rand (about 53 euros).
This article is available in: Português