New SA border patrol bill stalls due to absent MPs

2017-05-11 20:01


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Cape Town - The controversial new border management authority bill failed to pass in the National Assembly on Thursday, after not enough MPs attended to form a quorum.

Even those ANC MPs present could not ensure that the House had the necessary 201 MPs present to pass the bill.

189 MPs voted in favour, while 7 voted against.

The vast majority of opposition parties walked out before the bill was read on Thursday.

The bill goes back on the roll to be voted on at a later date.

The BMA bill looks to establish one centralised authority to handle all matters around South Africa's ports of entry, including policing and customs duties.

Tax issues were a main sticking point for opposition parties, who said only the South African Revenue Services is mandated to handle customs revenues.

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 rumoured costs of setting up the authority was R22bn, but independent input said it could be conducted for as little as R3bn.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu said the party does not have a problem with a border management authority, but that the customs issue needs to be resolved.

"It cannot be that you are going to shift the power of revenue collection from the ministry of finance to the minister of home affairs. It fragments revenue collection."

He said the Guptas are the problem, claiming it was them instructing the ANC to move revenue collection to Home Affairs.

New home affairs minister Hlengiwe Mkhize however said opposition parties did not read the new amendment bill, saying BMA will not handle customs.

All revenue collected will be sent to SARS for handling.

She said the bill was necessary, as the government was listening to citizens that South Africa's borders "were porous".

Around 1% of all tax revenue is collected at the border.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who raised concerns over the costs of establishing the authority while finance minister, was not present in the House on Thursday to vote.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  parliament

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