South Africa’s Border Management Authority (BMA) is sticking to its earlier stance that it intercepted 443 children who were entering the neighbouring country illegally despite Zimbabwe accusing it of lying.
In a sting operation that was carried out over the weekend, more than 400 children from 42 buses, who were South Africa bound, were intercepted by BMA at the Beitbridge border post.
However, the Zimbabwean government has said the figures released were inflated and there is no such record.
In a statement released Wednesday, BMA said it maintains the numbers in its earlier statement.
“In our media statement issued on 3rd December 2023, we stated that the Border Guards, working with members of the Home Affairs Counter Corruption Unit and the South African Police Services (SAPS), stopped and searched 42 buses at Beit bridge and found 443 unaccompanied children.
“As a result, the BMA denied those children entry into South Africa. They did not meet the requirements for entering the country.
“The BMA wishes to state that it stands by what it said on Sunday the 3rd December in as far as the number of children affected is concerned,” said BMA.
South Africa is home to Zimbabweans who have sought refuge due to harsh economic conditions.
During holidays like the festive period the majority of families are reunited in South Africa.
BMA said it will not be sucked into the numbers game arguing that it was guided by law that combats human trafficking.
“The BMA does not wish to enter into a numbers game debate. There are legislative requirements for minor children to cross borders anywhere in the world.
“As a country, South Africa remains obliged to look after every child within our borders as guided by the Children’s Act, the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child.
“The BMA has the responsibility to implement the prescripts of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 as amended, and its accompanying regulation as presented by the Department of Home Affairs.
“For ease of reference, we wish to present a table of requirements for children travelling through South African ports of entry, be it Land. Sea or Airports,” read the statement further.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202312070439.html
Publish date : 2023-12-07 14:30:10