Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, says that his departmentwill look to change the current infrastructure layout of the arriving and departing terminals at OR Tambo International airport.
He said that having deployed additional staff, with good results, during the festive season, demonstrated the challenge at the airport around resources.
“Now that the deployed staff had been withdrawn, maintaining the same levels of efficiency and effectiveness poses serious challenges necessitating action,” Gigaba said on Wednesday.
“OR Tambo as a strategic hub requires additional resources on a permanent basis. It is for this reason that the department plans to increase capacity at this airport. To this end, we have allocated R25 million for the 2017/18 financial year, and therefore we should be able to appoint additional 58 immigration officials and fully capacitate our management team,” he said.
A further increase in staff capacity is planned for the 2018/19 financial year, with an additional budget allocation of R17 million, availed by National Treasury.
The minister said however, that the challenges at OR Tambo are not only about staff shortages. Other areas of concern include the current infrastructure layout of the arriving and departing terminals. Engagements with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) are apace to reconsider the current layout of identified areas, Gigaba said.
“Among the proposals is the separation of travellers departing, in the same way as in the Arrival Terminal, where citizens are separated from foreign travellers. The festive period where this proposal was piloted had shown there is value in implementing this option permanently precisely because required services are different for citizens and other clients.”
South Africa recorded a healthy increase in the number of travellers entering and leaving the country during the 2016/17 festive season.
According to Gigaba, between 9 December 2016 and 14 January 2017, movements recorded at ports of entry nationally amounted to 5 504 022 – an increase of 200,467 from the same period a years ago.
Top 10 nationalities that arrived in SA over this period were:
- United Kingdom
Top 10 ports by volume over this period were:
- Oliver Tambo International Airport
- Beit Bridge
- Maseru Bridge
- Cape Town International Airport
- Groblers Bridge
All movements for OR Tambo for 9 December 2016 to 14 January 2017 reached a total of 977,961, as against 948,477 during 9 December 2015 to 14 January 2016.
The minister noted that three local airports have also recently been listed among the most punctual in the world.
Cape Town featured sixth on the global medium airport punctuality list recently published by UK travel analysts, OAG. OR Tambo featured in eighth position globally on OAG’s large airport punctuality list, and King Shaka ranked 10th in the world on OAG’s small airport punctuality list.
In 2016, Cape Town achieved its 10th million passenger milestone.