Ill-discipline and absent workers plague South Africa’s busiest airport

Efficiency at South Africa’s busiest airport has been called into question as absenteeism was highlighted as some of the challenges to tourism by the department of home affairs in parliament on Tuesday.

The department, led by Minister Malusi Gigaba, briefed the Home Affairs committee on the tourism numbers in the country during the festive season – with an estimated 5-million travellers processed during the festive period, showing a 7% increase in foreign arrivals and a 0.3% increase for local tourists.

From December 1 to January 7, 2016 the number of travellers from the African continent increased by 4.9%, while European travellers increased by 6.1%. There was an increase of 7.8% of travellers from North America, 15% from Asia, 2.5% from Australasia and 21% from the Middle East.

There was however a 1% decrease of arrivals from South America, the department said.

OR Tambo International Airport currently processes 19 million passenger per annum, 60,000 passengers per day, with 42% departing internationally on a daily basis.

The minister said lack of sufficient staff was cause for concern. Gigaba told the committee the department was working on getting an experienced manager to take charge of OR Tambo Airport as absenteeism was representing a considerable challenge.

He said they had visited the airport a number of times, with as many as “32 absentees” during one particular visit.”That’s a large number,” he said.

He said following those visits, the number of absentees had decreased.

“Which showed us we were not dealing with sickness here, but ill-discipline and poor management.”

He said it was important for the ports of entry in the country to run effectively.

In November 2015, the department initiated a biometric data capturing pilot at OR Tambo international, as well as other key points of entry across SA – as part of its electronic Movement Control System (eMCS) Biometric fingerprint capability programme.

Since January 2016, it has been providing training to immigration officials for the eMCS by the Department’s Learning Academy, to ensure efficient use and management of the system. Training is ongoing as additional counters/ports are enabled for biometric capturing, the DHA said.

The successful implementation of biometric capturing at key ports of entry has since formed the basis for the department’s review of the Transit Visa requirement – with it no longer be required for transit through Lanseria, King Shaka, Cape Town and OR Tambo airports since 18 December 2015.

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Ill-discipline and absent workers plague South Africa’s busiest airport