Extended border hours. Additional staff. The home affairs department is going all out to prepare for and increase in the number of travellers, especially international ones, for Easter.
Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize addressed the nation on Easter travel preparations on Thursday.
The home affairs minister announced the hours at selected ports of entry would be extended and the department was temporarily adding about 200 more staff to ports to prepare for the anticipated increase.
The statement read: “Easter is one of the peak periods characterised by massive increases in traveller movements. Over the last four years, there has been a steady increase in traveller movement.”
The increase for March and April 2012-2016 went from 5.7 million recorded movements of both citizens and foreigners in 2012, to more than 7 million recorded movements in 2016. There was also a greater number of international travellers.
The ports with extended hours included Lebombo, Mananga, Jeppes Reef, Oshoek and Mahamba in Mpumalanga; Qacha’s Nek in the Eastern Cape; Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal; Monontsha Pass and Caledonspoort in Free State; and Groblersbridge in Limpopo.
“We trust that extending hours will go a long way in minimising burdensome queues, delays and inconveniences to travellers,” Mkhize said.
As for road safety, the department of transport was working with other “relevant stakeholders” in transportation, which includes the South African Police Service and National Traffic Police, to “ensure that the citizens of the province enjoy road accident and crime free during the Easter period”.
Simon Zwane, Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson, said the traffic police were also working with provincial traffic departments, law enforcement and ambulance services to ensure safety for travellers on the road too. Zwane said issues of concern include speeding and overloading.