A brief assessment of the South African Draft One-Stop Border Post Policy
On the last day of December 2020, the South African Department of Home Affairs published two draft policies for public comment. The one is a Draft One-stop Border Post Policy, the other a Draft Official Identity Management Policy. The publication of the draft policies followed not long after the signing into law of the Border Management Authority Act by the South African President in July 2020.
The connection between the One-stop Border Post (OSBP) Policy and the Border Management Authority (BMA) Act is clear. From a border management perspective, the Identity Management Policy (IMP) will be relevant if the state-of-the-art personal identification system envisaged by the policy is given effect to. As much is foreseen by the Draft IMP when it refers to ‘interoperability across borders’, ‘integration across borders’ and to 2024, when the identification system ‘interfaces with systems of neighbouring countries – piloted through the one-stop border post initiative’. The Draft OSBP Policy, for its part, should be more direct in its recognition of the IMP than the casual ‘South Africa is in the process of modernising its identity management systems’. The IMP should be mentioned by name, if only to show a level of integration in the thinking of the Department of Home Affairs – and the Government.
This Working Paper is aimed at the Draft OSBP Policy. The Policy is to be welcomed because talk and decisions about border management in South Africa have a running history with slow results amidst ever-stuttering border control, shown up in extreme fashion by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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