Passengers flying in to South Africa’s largest airport have been fuming over long waiting periods trying to enter the country with many service booths being empty and crucial times. Even those leaving have been experiencing delays.
Traveller24 reported earlier that a two-hour wait in an immigration queue at OR Tambo International, that was four lines deep and only being attended to by four immigration officials, cost one US traveller R15,000 to buy an air ticket after she missed her connecting flight. The are many similar sad stories.
Now the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, – belatedly – announced that the additional staff would ensure that all workstations were “at 100% capacity, with all cubicles utilised to process passengers”.
TourismUpdate.co.za reports the funding for the additional staff came from within the department following a reprioritisation process. Although the DHA budgets for the high volumes of travellers during the festive and Easter seasons are “not sufficient” the minister said “we would wish, on a sustainable basis throughout the year, to increase our capacity at these ports of entry so that we can provide an enjoyable experience for travellers”.
The additional staff will be incorporated into a new structure of two shifts a day, which will overlap the shifts of current staff during peak periods. The first shift runs from 06h00 until 11h00, and the second shift from 16h00 until 20h00. The increased service will be in place up to 14 January (when the misery start all over again – Ed.)
The Minister stresses that this is a temporary solution. “We will require a sustainable solution that appreciates that efficiency, through optimal staff capacity, needs to extend beyond the festive season.”