DHA announces plans to curb delays, streamline immigration at airports this festive season

2016-12-08 13:37 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba on Thursday, 08 December, announced the Department's plans for the 2016 festive season.

Acknowledging travellers' fears of delays and long queues at SA's points of entry during the holidays, Gigaba says the DHA will try to facilitate quick movement at immigration.

The major issue remains limited human resources, but Gigaba says the Department of Home Affairs is in discussion with the National Treasury to help aid in the situation. 

Gigaba's announcements follow various concerns outlined by tourism stakeholders like the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), in which they feared severe delays and backlogs could deter visitors from coming to SA over the festive season. 

The solutions will include additional personnel, extended operational hours, the altering of Unabridged Birth Certificates for purposes of travelling with minors as well as interventions to manage challenges at the OR Tambo Airport international arrivals terminal.

Ahead of Gigaba's statement, TBCSA CEO Mmatšatši Ramawela said she was 'cautiously optimistic' that short-term solutions to improve conditions at SA's ports of entry will be approved before the big festive rush commenced. 

The three short-term solutions were to introduce ushers at the airport to assist with welcoming and  information, to make the waiting periods in the queues more pleasurable for travellers by providing water, music, entertainment and information and to utilise staff from other official home affairs counters at the airports to assist in peak periods. 

SEE: Biometric Delays: 3 quick-fixes to ease festive season spike at SA airports

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