The Border Management Authority (BMA) successfully intervened to prevent the trafficking of approximately 443 children into South Africa. The sting operation, conducted on Saturday night at the Beitbridge border post, saw the search of 42 buses, revealing children under the age of eight traveling without parental or guardian supervision.
Commander of the border guard, Michael Masiapato, stated, “Children under the age of 8, found in those buses without a parent or a guardian, were being trafficked into South Africa. We engaged with Zimbabwean officials and facilitated their return for processing, ensuring their safety.”
Providing insights into recent achievements, the BMA highlighted its success in preventing over 44,000 individuals from entering South Africa illegally since April 2023. Stringent measures have been implemented, leading to the deportation of those attempting unauthorized entry.
As the festive season approaches, the BMA emphasized its commitment to ensuring border security. Operating hours at critical ports across the country will be extended, and an additional 380 personnel will be deployed at the busiest entry points. With an estimated six million people expected to traverse the country’s borders, airports, and harbors in December, heightened vigilance is imperative.
While some ports operate 24/7, others, such as Groblers Bridge, will extend operating hours to accommodate increased traffic during peak periods. “We shall be closing at midnight on 15 and 16 December as well as 22 and 23 December,” explained Masiapato, highlighting the proactive measures in place to manage the surge in holiday travel.
The BMA’s resolute efforts underscore its dedication to safeguarding the nation’s borders and ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals, especially children, against trafficking and exploitation.