Home Affairs gears up for festive season

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Department of Home Affairs is gearing itself to deal with high volumes of travellers at all the country's ports of entry during the festive season.

The department, in collaboration with other border law enforcement agencies and six countries sharing borders with South Africa, have finalised plans for the 2019/20 festive season.

The plans, which will become operational from 04 December 2019 until 13 January 2020, are aimed at helping navigate the festive season period of heightened movement across South Africa’s ports in the interest of all travellers.

“The ports of entry with traditionally high volumes of movement will have their operating hours increased by between one and seven hours. This means that the Lebombo Port of Entry with Mozambique and the Oshoek Port of Entry with the Kingdom of Eswatini will operate for 24 hours on some dates during this period.

“Border law enforcement entities have confirmed readiness to handle increased volumes of travellers and goods at all ports of entry. This increase in movement of people and goods, across borders is due to the inflow and outflow of travellers such as tourists, cross-border workers, business, academics and educational activities,” the department said in a statement.

The department said that close to 400 additional officials will be deployed at selected ports to assist with delivery of immigration services and offer technical support at the borders. Most of the officials will be at the Beit Bridge Port of Entry with Zimbabwe, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge Port of Entry with Lesotho, and the Ficksburg Port of Entry with Lesotho.

“The South African Police Services has increased police with an additional 80 officials. South African Revenue Services (Customs) is deploying an extra 86 customs officials at selected ports, and the rest of the border law enforcement entities have also deployed limited numbers of staff as they will rely mainly on overtime for permanent staff,” the department said.

The department noted that increases in traveller movement exert additional strain on resources and pose security risks for South Africa and the six countries with which it shares borders in the region.

Among main risks experienced during peak periods include fraudulent documents, undocumented travellers and poor access control due to congested roads.

The department has urged vehicle drivers to refrain from lawlessness around the country’s ports, with all ensuring traffic rules are not undermined on the way to certain ports like Lebombo and Beitbridge.

The department also implored all travellers leaving and entering South Africa to ensure all their travel documents are in order to avoid unnecessary delays at ports. These include passports, visas, health certificates, permits for specified goods, plants and animals, and vehicle insurance and bank authorised cross-border documents for vehicles. – SAnews.gov.za