border posts set for cup

Limpopo 'S prime ports of entry, the Gateway International Airport and Beitbridge border post, are ready to secure users and prevent illegal movements during the World Cup tournament.

The South African Revenue Services (Sars) said yesterday it had tested its ability to deal with the influx of tourists during the soccer tournament and had found satisfactory responses.

Sars is responsible for nine ports of entry but believes that two of these will be dealing with massive numbers of travellers during the World Cup.

The remaining seven, Sars said, did not necessarily offer opportunities for ordinary travellers.

Sars Limpopo border control operational committee coordinator Michael Tshinavha said they had increased the number of officials who would be working at the ports of entry.

"We made plans to respond to expected and unexpected tourists because we have not received indications that people will be coming."

Tshinavha said they anticipated other people coming to use the public viewing facilities during the games scheduled to start on Friday next week.

The province shares borders with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the authority indicated that it would be looking at all travels.

"We are expecting that other ports might be used by those who would also be interested in tourism activities," Tshinavha said.

"Plans are well on track. But we are not expecting foreign travellers since most of the airport users will already have been declared domestic since they arrived in the country."

All ports of entry had also been boosted with the security of the SA National Defence Force but logistical questions were highlighted during the security cluster last month after dissatisfaction over the absence of cargo scanners.

But there were unanswered questions over the Beitbridge border post's ability to scan cargo since the scanners were not working.

Tshinavha said Beitbridge and Gateway International Airport preparations were of the best.

He said human resources had also been added at Groblersbridge, a border post that connects Limpopo and Botswana.