More staff and longer hours for SA border posts over festive season

27 November 2019 - 17:27
By Staff Reporter
The Beitbridge border post is expecting a significant increase in traffic over the festive season.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali The Beitbridge border post is expecting a significant increase in traffic over the festive season.

SA's border posts at Lebombo and Oshoek will operate for 24 hours a day over key periods of the festive season to facilitate travel to and from Mozambique and eSwatini.

The department of home affairs said on Wednesday that it had finalised plans for the festive season with other border law-enforcement agencies and the six countries sharing borders with SA.

Border posts with traditionally high volumes of movement will have their operating hours increased by between one and seven hours a day to cater for the increase in traffic by tourists and cross-border workers, as well as business, academic and educational activities.

Home affairs will deploy close to 400 additional officials at selected ports to help with immigration services and offer technical support. Most of these officials will be at the Beitbridge border with Zimbabwe, and Lebombo, Maseru Bridge and the Ficksburg ports of entry to Lesotho.

The police will provide an additional 80 officials, while revenue service Sars is deploying an extra 86 customs officials at selected posts.

Other border law-enforcement entities have also deployed limited numbers of staff as they will rely mainly on permanent staff working overtime, said home affairs.

"Increases in traveller movements exert additional strain on resources and pose security risks for SA, and for the six countries with which it shares borders. It is therefore imperative for the border environment to prepare adequately to facilitate traveller movement and to curb illegal movement and other transgressions along the borderline," said the department in a statement.

Among the risks experienced during peak periods are fraudulent documents, undocumented travellers and poor access control due to congested roads, added the department.

"We implore all travellers leaving and entering SA to ensure all their travel documents are in order to avoid unnecessary delays at ports. These include passports, visas, health certificates, permits for specified goods, plants and animals, vehicle insurance and bank-authorised cross-border documents for vehicles."