20 January 2012
The deployment of 350 newly trained immigration officers at OR Tambo International Airport over the festive season was an overwhelming success, says Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni.
The 350 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) officers were laterally transferred to the department, trained as immigration officers and then deployed to the airport in December.
They were trained on international best practices, which seek to deal with child trafficking, human trafficking, illegal immigration and money laundering.
The new method of immigration management replaces the one where immigration officers simply conducted passport control, Apleni explained.
The new immigration officers processed the entry and departure of 268 260 South African citizens and 351 003 foreign nationals.
From 21 December 2011 to 18 January 2012, 7 472 violations of the country’s immigration laws were identified and 230 suspicious cases referred to the department’s Inspectorate Services for further investigation.
“We are cognisant of the fact that there may still be instances of teething problems, as with any new operation. In this regard, we welcome all suggestions and call on members of the public to seek the assistance of the supervisor on duty,” Apleni said.
He added that the department was in the process of strengthening security at all of South Africa’s ports of entry.
“In this regard, we have taken a decision that passenger liners would no longer be allowed to dock at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town since it is not a designated port of entry.
“It must be noted that it is only the Minister of Home Affairs who is constitutionally mandated to designate a port of entry within the Republic of South Africa,” he said.
Passenger liners will be rerouted to Duncan Dock at the Cape Town Harbour, where foreign nationals entering South Africa will be processed in line with the Immigration Act.
The department has also deployed “additional human resource capacity” to two of the country’s harbours, with 37 more officials at the Cape Town Harbour and 47 more at the Durban Harbour.