Thank you for attending the Home Affairs media briefing on the Easter travel readiness and the extension of operational hours to enhance processing of travellers and goods at the busiest ports of entry.

For your noting, I was well received by the Home Affairs team. I moved over after the Swearing-in Ceremony of new Ministers and Deputy Ministers, which was held on Friday 31 March 2017, at the Presidential Guesthouse. As you know, this development followed the President’s announcement of a Cabinet reshuffle, last week.I am well aware many of you would want to hear of our approach to undertaking the department’s work going-forward, but for today this is more of a meet and greet interaction. Further details of my plans will be shared with you at subsequent interactions. At this juncture, the focus of the media briefing is on sharing information on readiness for one of the department’s major activities – facilitating travellers’ movement over Easter. This is to ensure that with changes in Executive Authority, services to citizens, tourists and travellers are not interrupted.

Regarding detail on our approach in this department of very strategic importance in light of its centrality in security and promoting economic development and service delivery, all is well. The transition is smooth. The system is ensuring provision of services is to proceed as expected, according to plans in place and agreed targets for the current financial year, 2017/18.

On Monday 3 April, I spent time with Home Affairs Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan, DG Mkuseli Apleni and members of the Executive Committee. The team took me through departmental priorities, programmes and current challenges. We shared notes on the huge responsibility this department bears in terms of its mandate and its envisioned repositioning within the South African state and the entire system of government.

I have scheduled discussions with branches and various units on departmental programmes and government’s programme of action broadly. Preparations for next month’s departmental budget vote presents a platform for looking closely at our objectives, priorities, achievements, challenges and forward movement.

Importantly, the Department of Home Affairs will remain a custodian of every citizen’s right to the dignity and protection of a name, identity and citizenship. Home Affairs has the potential to be the backbone of a secure digital platform that will provide the backbone of a competitive digital economy for South Africa.

Coming to the subject of the day, I would like to announce our readiness, and decision to extend operating hours at selected ports, effective from 11 to 19 April 2017, substantively to ease movement for travellers, in and out of the Republic, over the Easter holidays. These reinforcements will apply to ten high volume ports of entry in anticipation of increased numbers of travellers. A schedule of extended hours is provided in the table at the end of this statement. 

Easter is one of the peak periods characterized by massive increases in traveller movements. Over the last four years, there has been a steady increase in traveller movement. An analysis of all movement for March and April 2012-2016, shows an increase from around 5,7 million recorded movements of citizens and foreigners in 2012, to over 7 million in 2016. Higher numbers are those of foreigners.

Top 10 ports by volume of arrivals and departures are, OR International Airport, Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Oshoek, Cape Town International Airport, Kopfontein, Ramatlabama and Golela Port of Entry.

Our immigration services have paid closer attention to those critical ports of entry processing very high numbers of travellers, especially at this time of the year.

With increasing traveller volumes over this period, it is imperative that staff, as well as border ports, are well-prepared to facilitate traveller movement and to mitigate transgressions.

Security dynamics and risks in peak periods include the spectre of undocumented travellers, fraudulent documents, illegal stamping of travel documents and dealing with challenges relating to personnel integrity.

A comprehensive operational plan to support port operations is in place. This goes with optimum law enforcement activities, as a deterrent to crime and corruption. This is based on the need to ensure the lawfulness of entry and exit of travellers at our Ports of Entry. This will help also to promote the objectives of our Departmental anti-corruption Operation Bvisa Masina (weeding out the rot). What we want to see is delivery of services at ports of entry where only legitimate people and goods are allowed to enter or leave South Africa in a co-ordinated manner as envisaged by the establishment of the Border Management Authority (BMA). We will provide further details on the BMA in due course.

We trust that extending hours will go a long way in minimising burdensome queues, delays and inconveniences to travellers. At the end of the day, our aim is make travel as pleasant as possible. This is important for citizens, and, in the broader scheme of things, for promoting South Africa as a preferred travel destination.

We are temporarily deploying about 200 additional staff to ports, including senior managers, to enhance service delivery. Our Home Affairs Learning Academy has contributed greatly in providing additional officials for peak periods. We have appealed to our officials to be humble, treating citizens and clients with humility and unimpeachable professionalism.

We will not lose sight of the strategic imperative to build a new Department of Home Affairs capable, effectively and efficiently, to discharge its full mandate, which is, reliably and professionally, to:

  • Deliver mandatory services to citizens,

  • Support national security and interests, and

  • Contribute in promoting economic development.

Finally, I reiterate the call to travellers to plan their journey in advance. As travellers, you must assist in easing congestion on the roads. Safety comes first. We have consulted key stakeholders at ports of entry and countries sharing borders with the Republic.

On our part, it’s all systems go for Easter holidays. In advance, I thank all officials serving over this period. I wish you, and travellers out there, a peaceful Easter break.

 

I thank you!

 

EXTENDED OPERATIONAL HOURS FOR EASTER 2017             (10-19 April 2017)

Province

Port of Entry

Current Hours

Extended Hours

Dates For Increased Hours

Mpumalanga

 

Lebombo

06:00 - 00:00

24 hrs

12-19 April 2017

Mananga

07:00 - 18:00

07:00 - 20:00

12-18 April 2017

Jeppes Reef

07:00 - 20:00

07:00 - 22:00

13-17 April 2017

Oshoek

06:00 - 00:00

24 hrs

13-17 April 2017

Mahamba

07:00 - 22:00

07:00 - 00:00

13 April 2017

Eastern Cape

Qacha’s Nek

07:00 - 20:00

06:00 - 22:00

11-12 April 2017

07:00 - 20:00

06:00 - 20:00

13 April 2017

KwaZulu-Natal

Kosi Bay

08:00 - 17:00

07:00 - 18:00

13-19 April 2017

Free State

Monontsha Pass

06:00 - 18:00

07:00 - 18:00

10-13 April 2017

Caledonspoort

06:00 - 22:00

06:00 - 00:00

13 April 2017

Limpopo

Groblersbridge

 

06:00 - 22:00

24 hours

14 April 2017

06:00 - 22:00

06:00 - 00:00

16 April 2017

06:00 - 22:00

22:00 - 00:00

17 April 2017

 

For media enquiries contact Thabo Mokgola on 060 962 4982 or David Hlabane on 071 342 4284 


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