Shallow Focus Photography of Brown Barbed Wire
Shallow Focus Photography of Brown Barbed Wire. Representational Image. NEOSiAM 2024+/

South Africa's Border Management Authority (BMA) said Wednesday that joining hands with Zimbabwe was necessary to prevent illegal activities at the ports, including smuggling, human trafficking and illegal migration.

BMA Commissioner Michael Masiapato, while speaking at a press conference attended by the Zimbabwe Border Ports Authorities in Pretoria on Wednesday, said both countries need to collectively take responsibility to prevent illegal activities at their respective ports.

The official X handle, formerly known as Twitter, of South Africa's Border Management Authority shared a photo from the press conference.

"We have a collective responsibility to prevent illegal activities at our ports of entry and the border law enforcement areas such as illegal migration, any kind of smuggling, human trafficking, and all kinds of cross border crimes inclusive of the illegal movement of weapons, and or illicit goods between our countries," Masiapato said, SA News reported.

The BMA commissioner noted that the border connection between South Africa and Zimbabwe represented a bridge of cultural, economic and historical exchanges that have been celebrated over the years. Hence, effective border management ensures the ultimate prosperity of the two nations.

Masiapato stated that cooperation on border management not only embraced the aspects of enforcing territorial sovereignties, but also helped in fostering economic growth and improvement in trade relations between nations.

"As the two jurisdictions within this sub-region, we have the responsibility to drive the objective of regional economic integration as articulated in the many resolutions of our leadership within the SADC (Southern African Development Community) context," he added.

Masiapato added that border management was not just about policy between two countries, but it also showed commitment towards regional development and stability.

The commissioner also commended the Zimbabwe government for the processes undertaken to develop the country's Border Ports Authority Bill, adding that "this is critical towards the establishment of the Zimbabwean Border Ports Authority which carries a similar resemblance to our Border Management Authority."

Meanwhile, Masiapato is hosting his Zimbabwean counterpart, Lieutenant General Nicholas Mahuhuba Dube, from Dec. 13 to Dec. 16 to showcase South Africa's model of administration and border management coordination.

The two countries are currently drafting a Border Ports Authority Bill aimed at creating the Zimbabwe Border Ports Authority and to provide for its functions.

In October 2023, President Cyril Ramaphosa presided over the launch of the BMA in Musina, Limpopo. The establishment of the BMA means that South Africa now has an integrated border management platform, with a single command and control to help achieve secure borders, safe travel and trade.

The BMA has, since its inception, recorded successes, which included intercepting stolen vehicles. Earlier this month, Masiapato revealed that a joint sting operation -- comprising BMA, Home Affairs and the South African Police Service -- stopped and searched about 42 buses that were trying to enter the country from Zimbabwe. The exact date of the rescue operation was not disclosed.