Cape Town - South Africa's Department of Home Affairs is in the process of rapidly improving the transit systems at all major immigration and emigration hubs, and self-service counters for domestic South African travellers seems to be the next in line to be implemented.
Speaking to media from the Foreign Correspondents Association at a brief on Friday morning, 11 November, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said, "We are considering introducing self-service counters [at OR Tambo International Airport's] E-gate for South Africans".
Travellers are already able to use self-service counters to check in their luggage.
SEE: SA domestic travellers can now opt to self-check their luggage
The announcement for the imminent implementation of self-service counters at OR Tambo comes only a few days after a new smart security system was implemented at OR Tambo International Airport. The new system, the first of its kind on the African continent, is currently running a pilot phase at international departures at the airport, and so far, operations are running smoothly.
SEE PICS: OR Tambo new Smart Security kicks off with smooth run
The minister also said that steps taken to assist the current congested immigration counters for international travellers at OR Tambo. He said the DHA is "mobilizing resources within government to processes more people".
Considering last Friday's emergency Captains of Industry meeting about the current congestion issues at immigration, Gigaba was likely referring to the three short-term solutions put forward by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa to help ease traffic at the airport, especially over the busy festive season.
One of the measures suggest that airport staff from other official home affairs counters at the airport assist at immigration counters during peak periods.
SEE: Biometric Delays: 3 quick-fixes to ease festive season spike at SA airports
The DHA has received a lot of pushback regarding the implementation of biometric data capturing systems at OR Tambo and all other international airports during the festive season. Regardless of the frustrations, the DHA insist that the implementation of biometric data capturing will ease immigration operations in future, as it will pave the way for e-visas, self-check-in counters at both domestic and international counters and other advanced immigration operations.
Regardless of the issues at immigration, OR Tambo is currently experiencing delays of another nature, after flash floods and severe thunderstorms have been affecting flights for the past two days.
SEE: ALERT: Avoid lower-level parkade at OR Tambo as more thunderstorms forecast
More severe thunderstorms have been issued. READ: Extreme SA Weather Alert: Spring tide warning as biggest Supermoon in 68 years looms
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- Extreme SA Weather Alert: Spring tide warning as biggest Supermoon in 68 years looms
- ALERT: Avoid lower-level parkade at OR Tambo as more thunderstorms forecast
- Biometric Delays: 3 quick-fixes to ease festive season spike at SA airports