SA records high traveller movements over festive season

Sunday, January 20, 2019

South Africa has recorded 6 852 972 traveller movements at its ports of entry, up from 6 811 510 movements in 2018.

Briefing the media on traveller statistics on Sunday, Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the increased movements were influenced mainly by tourism, cross border employment, business and education programmes.

The statistics are for the period 1 December 2018 to 15 January 2019.

“Statistics on traveller movement are an important indicator on how busy our ports are, and how efficient we are in processing movements. When comparing statistics for the period 1 December to 15 January over the past two years, we see a marginal increase of 0.61%. This year we recorded 6 852 972 movements compared to 6 811 510 movements in 2018,” said Cwele.

The top nationalities cleared at ports of entry over this period were from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Namibia and Zambia.  OR Tambo International Airport cleared the highest volumes, with 997 167. It was followed by Beitbridge at 884 992, then Lebombo with 625 975, Ficksburg Bridge with 471 474 and Maseru Bridge with 428 038.

Extended hours at front offices 

Cwele said that due to higher volumes of citizens in the period after the New Year’s celebration and the start of school year, the department extended operating hours at its big and some medium-sized offices from 2 to 11 January 2019.

During the period, offices across the country provided services to citizens and other clients from 7am to 7pm.

During the extended hours period, 116 404 citizens visited Home Affairs offices to access services, including applying for smart IDs, collecting documents, getting temporary ID certificates, registering births, applying for birth certificates and resolving various queries.

“Extending office hours benefitted citizens who were looking for enabling documents with which to register learners and university students and for matric exams. There are citizens who came to collect their IDs in order to cast their votes during the 2019 general elections.

“The intervention helped in testing the offices’ readiness to serve eligible voters during the voter registration weekend of 26 and 27 January 2019. Our people need identity documents in order to register to vote. Overall, operations went well,” Cwele said.

The Minister said he is satisfied the department’s offices are ready to assist citizens this coming weekend. He had visited some offices in three provinces during this period.

He also appealed to those who applied for identity documents to come and collect them, noting that most of the uncollected IDs are in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

As at the beginning of this year, 297 000 IDs were uncollected at various office across the country. –