Border Management Authority Bill finally passed

2017-06-08 22:43
ANC members stand as Jacob Zuma approaches the National Assembly's podium for his reply on the debate on the presidency's budget. The DA, EFF, Cope and UDM benches are empty. (Jan Gerber, News24)

ANC members stand as Jacob Zuma approaches the National Assembly's podium for his reply on the debate on the presidency's budget. The DA, EFF, Cope and UDM benches are empty. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - It was a case of third time lucky for the ANC when they finally had enough members in the National Assembly to pass the controversial Border Management Authority Bill on Thursday evening. 

On May 11 and again on Tuesday, there were many empty spaces in the ANC benches and the DA and EFF staged walkouts to prevent the quorum of 201 out of the 400 MPs required for the bill to pass. 

The ANC benches were much fuller on Thursday, with many ministers in attendance, and the DA and EFF stayed put. Amid cheers from the ANC, house chairperson Cedric Frolick announced there were 218 votes in favour of the bill and 74 against.

DA chief Whip John Steenhuisen stood up and said, "I just want to wish the ANC congratulations. Third time lucky!" 

Earlier in the day he referred to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu as the "chief whip of the minority party" instead of "chief whip of the majority party" because he twice failed to ensure a majority in the house to vote for the bill. 

The bill will now be referred to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

'Greedy politicians'

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

When the bill was debated in May, DA MP Haniff 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 the 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:    anc  |  parliament

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