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Joint operation halts trafficking of 443 children at Beitbridge Border Post

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beitbridge border post

Tulani Ngwenya

Pretoria, South Africa – In a joint effort, the Border Management Authority (BMA), Home Affairs, and the South African Police Service (SAPS) successfully thwarted a major trafficking attempt at the Beitbridge Border Post, intercepting more than 40 buses carrying 443 unaccompanied children under the age of 8. The Commissioner of the BMA, Dr. Michael Masiapato, disclosed these significant achievements during a press briefing on Sunday, December 3, 2023.

Dr. Masiapato detailed the operation, highlighting the collaboration between the BMA, Home Affairs, and SAPS. “They were able to stop and search about 42 buses trying to enter the republic, and out of that, we found about 443 children under the age of eight that were in those buses without any parent or guardian. Fairly, they were being trafficked into South Africa.”

The rescued children, found without the consent of their parents or guardians, were promptly removed from the buses. Engaging with Zimbabwean officials, the authorities facilitated their return to Zimbabwe for processing back into the country.

Motsoaledi hails BMA after Beitbridge Border Post arrests

The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, lauded the commendable efforts in managing South African borders. He expressed, “The hard work of the Border Management Authority is commendable, showing we’re pulling out all stops to prevent acts of crime and illegal entry into the country. Clearly, the BMA is hard at work and is making inroads in effective border law enforcement.”

All individuals on the 42 buses, including the 443 rescued children holding Zimbabwean passports, were denied entry into South Africa. Minister Motsoaledi strongly condemned the criminal acts, emphasising the need to protect children, especially during the ongoing 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.

Read more on the subject:

A joint sting operation between the Border Management Authority, Home Affairs and Saps has stopped more than 40 buses.

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Besides Beitbridge Border Post arrests, 2200 more people have been arrested for various crimes at other borders

In addition to the successful interception at Beitbridge, Commissioner Masiapato revealed other achievements by the BMA in safeguarding the country’s borders. These include the arrest of more than 2,200 people for various crimes around ports of entry, the detection of high-value stolen vehicles, the interception of explosives, and the prevention of drug smuggling.

BMA Commissioner Dr. Mike Masiapato assured the nation that further investigations were underway to bring all perpetrators to justice. “The entire episode at Beitbridge shows the great achievements of the BMA in a very short space of time. It’s a good sign in tackle sharply the outcry on porous borders. We’ll continue relentlessly to act swiftly in enforcing immigration and other laws in the interest of national security and safety of all persons in the country, especially during this peak period, the festive season, and beyond,” Minister Motsoaledi concluded.

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