Home Affairs ready for Easter influx

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Department of Home Affairs says it is ready for the Easter season influx of travellers who will be traveling through the country’s ports of entry.

In 2018, South Africa recorded 1.2 million traveller movements during the Easter period. One in four travellers were South Africans.

Addressing the media in Pretoria earlier today, Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the department has put in place plans to ease the movement of people and goods.

“The plans are a demonstration of coordination amongst government departments and agencies and the strength of relations we enjoy with our neighbouring countries.

“Each Easter and festive season, an operational plan is prepared to ease traveller movements because our ports of entry record higher numbers of traveller movements during these periods. During the Easter period, most of the movements are for tourism and religious purposes,” Minister Cwele said.

Cwele appealed to members of the public who are planning to travel through the ports to comply with all the respective legislation.

“Some travellers experience unnecessary delays that results in congestion at the ports because they do not confirm requirements prior to traveling,” Cwele said, adding that prospective travellers can contact immigration officials to confirm the documents required for their travel.

Top five nationalities who travelled through the South African ports of Entry were Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Outside the region, the highest numbers came from the United Kingdom, United States of America and Germany.

Minister Cwele said his department and other departments have prepared adequately for the Easter period to ensure easing movement of people and goods in and out of the country.

“Accordingly, an integrated operational plan for port operations will be implemented from this coming Tuesday. This operational plan aims to ensure that services are delivered at ports of entry where only legitimate people and goods are allowed to enter or depart the country.

“We aim for a secure port of entry where potential violators are deterred, threats and inadmissible people, goods and conveyances are intercepted, legitimate trade and travel are facilitated and operations and outcomes are consistent,” Cwele said.

Extended operational hours

In a bid to ensure easy traveling, the Department of Home Affairs has also announced that it will be extending operational hours at all the country’s ports of entry.

Extended Operating Hours at Ports of Entry 2019 Easter Period 

  • Lebombo: 06:00 - 00:00 - 24 hours – 6 hours from 17-29 April 2019
  • Mananga: 07:00 - 18:00; 07:00 - 20:00 – 2 hours from 18-20 April 2019
  • Jeppes Reef: 07:00 - 20:00; 07:00 - 22:00 – 2 hours from 18-19 April 2019
  • Oshoek: 07:00 - 00:00 - 24 hours - 7hrs from 18-21 April 2019
  • Mahamba: 07:00 - 22:00; 07:00 - 00:00 – 2 hours from 18 April 2019
  • Qacha’s Nek: 07:00 - 20:00; 06:00 - 22:00 – 3 hours from 17-18 April 2019
  • Kosi Bay: 08:00 - 17:00 07:00 - 19:00 – 3 hours from 17 April to 2 May 2019 
  • Mananga: 07:00 - 18:00; 07:00 - 20:00 – 2 hours from 18-20 April 2019

Front offices back online

Meanwhile, on Monday, the department announced that all its front offices in all the provinces are back online and are providing full services to citizens.

This was after last week’s service interruptions in some offices arising from a system upgrade of the live capture system which was conducted on 29 - 31 March 2019.

The live capture system of the 193 modernised offices was upgraded as part of the department’s modernisation programme.

To date, there are only nine offices reported to have camera errors which are being addressed, however all other services including collections of IDs, passports and processing of births, marriages and deaths are online and available.

The department called on those who have applied for documents, including smart ID cards and passports, to visit Home Affairs offices where they have applied to collect their documents.

According to the department, there are 355 257 smart ID cards in various offices that are uncollected as at 31 March 2019.

Of the total, 278 242 are re-issues where such clients are likely to have documents in their possession while 77 015 are for those who have applied for the first time and never came to collect.

The province with the highest number of uncollected IDs is Gauteng (at 102 468). The province with the least number of uncollected documents is the Northern Cape, with 12 255 smart ID cards uncollected. – SAnews.gov.za