The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) tracked a 14% increase of traveller movements into and out of SA, using technology from the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Home affairs deputy minister Fatima Chohan says the Movement Control System (MCS) is a legacy of the World Cup and tracked 3 503 416 traveller movements into and out of SA during December.
She adds that this represents a 14% increase when compared to the 3 078 026 movements recorded in the same period in 2009, ITWeb reports.
Traveller volumes from 1 to 30 December at Maseru Bridge increased from 191 444 to 356 140 (86%), Ficksburg Bridge increased from 194 850 to 345 527 (77%), and Lebombo from 331 509 to 362 751 (19%).
“Ahead of the New Year celebration, the MCS, on 30 December 2010, recorded a total of 110 254 traveller movements for the day. This represents the arrival of 21 902 into the country and departure of 18 533 South African nationals from the country.
“The number of foreign nationals arriving in SA amounted to 35 729, while departures of foreigners accounted for 34 090.”
The ports of entry which recorded the highest volume of traveller movements on 30 December were Oliver Tambo International Airport and Beit Bridge.
The R129 million MCS system was launched at OR Tambo International Airport, by home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ahead of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.
The technology is designed to track and document the secure movements of travellers across SA.
Jackson McKay, deputy director-general responsible for immigration at home affairs, explained that the system is designed to provide real-time information and statistics about who has entered the country, who is staying in the country – for how long and for what purpose – as well as who has left the country.
He added that its real-time integrated functionality differentiates it from the old system. The system will update all travellers’ information, regardless of the type of passport presented upon entry into the country. It would communicate that information to all other points of entry across the country in real-time, he explained.
McKay highlighted the security features of the system, which had been designed to also act as an early warning to track visitors who overstayed in the country following the World Cup.
The system is also meant to assist with law enforcement, as well as the prevention of criminal and illicit activities, by integrating with Interpol databases and the South African Police Service systems.