THANKS to an integrated security system immigration officials are now able to verify a traveller's status on entering the country.
The Movement Control System, one of the first globally, is aimed at facilitating the secure movement of people in and out of the country in preparation for the World Cup.
The system has been piloted successfully at OR Tambo International Airport and will be rolled out at 34 priority ports of entry in the country.
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said yesterday: "We have prioritised 33 ports of entry in the country where the programme will be rolled out before the end of May. When King Shaka Airport opens later this week, it will use this system.
"The great thing about the system is that it is integrated to all ports of entry in the country. Whether a person uses Limpopo as a port of entry, officers at the Botswana border post will also be able to track your movements."
The R129million project will be fully implemented by August.
Home Affairs head of immigration Jackson McKay said: "The old manual system we had been using was high up there with the best in the world. This one is even better.
"With the new system everything is done digitally. There is no need for immigration officers to type out information anymore. A traveller has to put his passport through a scanner and his details will automatically be checked against other departments."
The passport is checked against Interpol, the SA police's most wanted list and the lost and stolen passport list, among other things. The system does at least 55 security checks on a passport.
McKay said the new system takes five seconds to verify information. "It's 10 times faster than the old system."
The SA Reserve Bank's head of IT Barry Hore said: "The system has been designed in a way that if it crashes it does not fail in its entirety."