Opposition again scuppers Border Management Authority Bill's adoption

2017-06-06 17:06
Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize. (GCIS, file)

Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize. (GCIS, file)

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Cape Town - Opposition parties again scuppered the adoption of the controversial Border Management Authorities Bill on Tuesday by staging a walkout.

After most of the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters MPs left the National Assembly chamber, only 188 MPs voted - six against and 182 for adoption. They were 13 MPs short of the quorum of 201 of the 400 MPs.

"The numbers are not making it. So the decision is postponed, again," deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said.

The bill was before the House on May 11, when the opposition walked out.

It seeks to establish one centralised authority to handle all matters involving South Africa's ports of entry, including policing and customs.

READ: New SA border patrol bill stalls due to absent MPs

Opposition parties objected and said only the South African Revenue Services was mandated to handle customs revenues.

When the bill was debated in May, DA MP Mohammed Hoosen said it was "one of the worst pieces of legislation that has come before the House". He described it as "an attempt to create another entity that could be captured by greedy politicians".

He said the cost of setting up the authority was rumoured to be R22bn, but according to independent input it could be as little as R3bn.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu claimed the Guptas were instructing the African National Congress to move revenue collection to home affairs.

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, however, said opposition parties had not read the new amendment bill. It would not handle customs and all revenue collected would be sent to SARS for handling.

She said the bill was necessary as government was listening to citizens' complaints that South Africa's borders were porous. Around 1% of all tax revenue was collected at the country's borders.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan raised concerns about the costs of establishing the authority.

Read more on:    parliament  |  da  |  anc  |  eff  |  hlengiwe mkhize  |  cape town  |  politics

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