Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele says he is impressed with the work done by the department’s officials to facilitate the ease of movement of people and goods especially this time of the year.
“Facilitating seamless traveller movements is one of the key contributions this department can make in the effort to boost economic growth and attract investment. We have to do our work while we ensure that our borders are secured,” Cwele said.
Speaking after a monitoring visit at Home Affairs operations at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday, Cwele said over 1.49 million traveller movements were recorded at OR Tambo Airport three years ago.
According to Cwele, the figure has since grown to 1.52 million and 1.57 million in the subsequent years.
“The department has already deployed all the additional 425 staff to the ports of entry to help deal with the anticipated increase in traveller movements over this period. Our ports of entry started operating for extended hours on 05 December 2018 and these times will remain until 09 January 2019,” the Minister said.
During the monitoring visit, Cwele interacted with some of these additional staff members and those who are based there on a full time basis.
“I reminded them that it is important that they continue to make travellers feel the warm spirit of Ubuntu the moment they step onto our shores,” the Minister said.
Cwele said South Africa is committed to working with other African countries and like-minded nations to ensure that migration become a choice instead of a necessity, as it is currently the case.
“For migration to be a choice, the root causes of involuntary migration, such as underdevelopment which manifest itself through inequality, poverty and unemployment have to be fully and comprehensively addressed.
“In this regard, we urge the international community to collectively commit to address the fundamental root causes of forced migration as proclaimed in the New York Declaration,” the Minister said.
The Department of Home of Affairs recently announced that children under 18 will no longer be required to present their birth certificates on entry and departure but they are advised to carry these documents.
Immigration officials may request these documents in certain instances. – SAnews.gov.za