Operational hours at ports of entry extended

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has approved the extension of operational hours for selected ports of entry during peak periods such as the Easter weekend.

The extension of operational hours at ports of entry commenced on Tuesday and will run until 6 April 2018.

Addressing the media in Tshwane earlier today, Minister Gigaba said during peak periods such as Easter and the end of the year, a high volume of people move through the ports and this movement presents a number of security risks and dynamics.

He said planning for the 2018 Easter period commenced immediately after the close up of 2017/18 Festive Season Border Security operations.

Stakeholders at ports of entry and the countries sharing borders with the Republic of South Africa have been engaged and agreed on the dates to effect the extended operational hours. The increased movement of travellers further requires that Ports of Entry are fully capacitated.

This therefore makes it imperative for ports to be well-prepared at all times to execute and facilitate traveller movement, and, importantly, also to mitigate illegal movements and transgressions, Minister Gigaba said.

He said the upsurge in traveller and vehicular movements during peak periods puts a strain on limited resources at the ports of entry.

This means that additional human resources must be deployed as requested to ensure reasonable turnaround times and avoid congestions at ports. All stakeholders in the border environment are mobilizing resources to address the shortage by either deployment of additional staff or provide overtime, the Minister said.

According to the Minister, the deployment of SANDF along the borderline assisted in safeguarding the country against illegal and irregular migratory movements.

He said interventions by the SANDF and SAPS Border Police officials eliminated the challenges and led to apprehension of majority of undocumented Lesotho nationals.

A total of 2119 undocumented migrants (1865 Mozambicans, 237 Zimbabweans, 13 Swazis, 3 Batswana and 1 Zambian) were apprehended by SANDF members along the borderline at Lebombo (1865), Groblersbrug (111), Beitbridge (127), Swartkopfontein (7), Mahamba (6), Ramatlabama (2) and Oshoek (1).

Furthermore, the SAPS and SANDF confiscated 3.046kg of abandoned dagga and 98 600 worth of fake notes which were handed over to SAPS.

During peak periods such as the Easter weekends and the festive periods, increased movement of travellers requires that Ports of Entry are fully capacitated.

The Department of Home Affairs as the lead department in the border environment has reaffirmed its commitment to reclaim and reassert state authority in the country, in terms of which South Africa's borders are effectively safeguarded and secured.

Source: South African Government News Agency