Beitbridge border trucks covid-19 Zimbabwe
Image via Twitter: @tlousemenya

SA on track to change border policy: Here’s what you need to know

South Africa’s new draft border policy means goods and people will move through the six busiest land ports at a faster pace.

Beitbridge border trucks covid-19 Zimbabwe
Image via Twitter: @tlousemenya

South Africa’s draft One Stop Border Policy (OSBP) which aims to harmonize the movement of people and goods between the country’s land ports of entry and its neighbouring countries is open for public consultation.

The policy which has been published by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi also addresses the congestion issue which results in delays. The new border policy comes after South Africa entered into the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021.


The documents addresses the country’s current border system failures which has come under scrutiny.

  • Poor controls and weak management that adversely affect the country’s territorial integrity.
  • The location, number, and design of the country’s 72 ports of entry are a legacy of the country’s colonial and apartheid past.
  • Border infrastructure such as fences and patrol roads are inadequate.

The capability of the state to secure this environment is limited and exposes large parts of the land border to strategic vulnerability, which contributes to problems such as wildlife poaching, human trafficking, and smuggling.

In an effort to address these issues the government will establish a new Border Management Authority (BMA) which will report directly to the Minister of Home Affairs. The BMA will be at the forefront of fighting illicit and unauthorised movement at the country’s borders.

READ: Calls to close Beitbridge border intensify


The Department of Home Affairs said it is also redeveloping six of South Africa’s ports of entry which includes the following:

  • Beit Bridge (Zimbabwe)
  • Lebombo (Mozambique)
  • Oshoek (Eswatini)
  • Kopfontein (Botswana)
  • Maseru Bridge (Lesotho)
  • Ficksburg (Lesotho)

The project is aimed at modernising these ports into world-class one-stop border posts. The construction is set to be finalised by 2025. The Department of Home Affairs said, “The benefit for the South African economy is that goods and people will move through these six busiest land ports at a faster pace and in a more effective and efficient manner. This will have specific and direct benefits for traders, freight carriers, and all those transporting goods since the intention is that all movement through these ports will be processed once and jointly by South Africa and the relevant neighbouring country.”


South Africa and its neighbouring countries currently use a two-stop system in which exit procedures are carried out by one state on one side of the border while entry procedures are carried out on the other side.

The department said that the ideal solution is to establish OSBPs where vehicles, goods and people stop only once for border processing formalities.

The officials from both countries through a negotiated bilateral agreement will operate in a common control zone where all procedures will be harmonised.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2020 said, “We expect that in the new year, 2021, preferential trade in Africa will begin with significant product coverage and will be further expanded over the coming years.”