A truck arrives at Beitbridge border post. Picture: REUTERS
A truck arrives at Beitbridge border post. Picture: REUTERS

THE Border Management Authority Bill continues to divide opinion, with trade union federation Cosatu becoming its latest critic and poised to make a submission on the bill in Parliament on Tuesday.

The Department of Home Affairs insists the bill has Cabinet support, despite misgivings from the Treasury and the police ministry. All three are due to appear in Parliament on Tuesday to argue for and against the bill during public hearings by the portfolio committee on home affairs.

The bill proposes the establishment of an agency that will oversee the management of the country’s ports of entry and will place them under the control of the minister of home affairs. The most immediate implication of this would be the South African Revenue Service’s role in customs collections.

Cosatu’s parliamentary office on Monday raised another concern: the prospect of placing control of the mooted border management agency outside the public service.

Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said on Monday the Cabinet was in agreement about the Border Management Authority Bill, which has been seven years in the making.

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"Cabinet has been quite clear on the matter. We should be careful of not taking sentiments from various entities and projecting them as the sentiment of Cabinet," he said. As part of ongoing engagements, the Treasury, the Department of Home Affairs and the police ministry were conversing with each other.

Cosatu warned on Monday against any decision to take the functions of the mooted border management authority away from the public service. The union said it would call for a ban on outsourcing within the authority.

"Any attempt to ram this bill through the throats of the workers in its current form will lead to mass mobilisation and industrial action," Cosatu said.

However, the trade union federation is not opposed to such an agency being set up.