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All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa
The Department of Home Affairs will introduce a specially designed visa to make the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup accessible to people across the globe.
This was announced in Rosebank yesterday where Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her lieutenants gave the media an update on their state of readiness.
"This will be the first time that such a visa will be used by a country hosting a major world event," said Mapisa-Nqakula.
Known as Event Visa, the special visa will enable people coming to watch the two competitions to enter South Africa expediently at the points of entry.
Morne Fourie, the department's 2010 head, said Event Visa will be free, but people applying for it must produce proof that they have a valid ticket for the competitions.
Standard immigration procedure where tourists will have to get a yellow fever certificate and proof of return flight will still be adhered to.
The plan by the department for the two events includes an advanced passenger information concept, trained customer service volunteers and the introduction of additional immigration officers at points of entry.
Mapisa-Nqakula said 161 new immigration officers graduated in Mafikeng last Friday after three months of intensive training ahead of the World Cup.
"Over the last few months, we have been working very hard in developing new processes, which means that we are changing the way we are doing business," said Mapisa-Nqakula.
"With regards to security, we will be deploying immigration officials from South Africa to work with foreign governments and airline personnel to identify irregular migration patterns during the course of the event."
Mapisa-Nqakula said they were in the process of implementing new measures to ensure that people get help quickly when they arrive at the points of entry.
"Queue management processes and systems are being developed in conjunction with managing agents of the various entry points."