Home Affairs tracking tourists


Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has unveiled a R129 million Motion Control System (MCS) at OR Tambo International Airport. The technology is designed to track and document the secure movements of travellers across SA, ahead of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.

Jackson McKay, deputy director-general responsible for immigration at home affairs, explained that the system is designed to provide real-time information and statistics as to 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 the system’s real-time integrated functionality was the main differentiator from the old system. The system will update all the travellers’ information, regardless of the type of passport, upon entry into the country and 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 has been designed to also act as an early warning system to track visitors who overstay in the country following the World Cup. The system will also assist in law enforcement, as well as the prevention of criminal and illicit activities, by integrating with Interpol databases and the South African police systems.

Following a successful pilot phase at OR Tambo airport, the system is ready to be rolled out at 34 points of entry across the country. The MSC is also being piloted in conjunction with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, the police, SARS and Home Affairs.

Dlamini Zuma noted that, while it was necessary to produce a world-class integrated motion control system ahead of the soccer World Cup, the benefits would be realised beyond 2010, as the second phase of the project will include all ports of entry across the country.

She added that with the necessary infrastructure in place, the MCS would be a stepping stone towards SA’s e-passport preparation. McKay added that the MCS is an easily scalable solution – so any developments in SA’s e-passport plans can be facilitated on the new system.