Over 600 travellers have been barred entry into South Africa so far this month, the Home Affairs department says in part praise of its new movement control system (MCS) and the advanced passenger processing (APP) technology deployed for the soccer World Cup.
Spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa says the 613 were barred because their names appeared either on the Interpol, Fifa or South African Visa and Entry Stop List. “The 613 foreign travellers were detected through South Africa’s movement control system launched in May this year,” he said in a statement, the South African Press Association notes. Noteworthy denials include two Pakistani nationals in Dubai who were blocked by Home Affairs airline liaison officers from boarding flights to South Africa. The men were found to be in possession of fraudulent South African temporary residence permits, Mamoepa said.
“The details of the two Pakistanis have now been placed on South Africa’s Visa and Entry Stop List. The South African movement control system, which is linked to law enforcement agencies and the South African Revenue Services (SARS), also prevented 32 soccer hooligans from Argentina and England from entering the country,” he explained.
Another two Pakistanis were arrested by Zimbabwean police at Beit Bridge last Sunday after being found travelling on suspicious documents. That country’s police told Reuters one of the men was being detained under an international arrest warrant, which Zimbabwean state media and South Africa’s Sunday Times said was for terrorism.
But South African police spokesman Colonel Vishnu Naidoo Naidoo denied the claim. “Nothing like that [terrorism] was ever discussed. The Zimbabwean police only arrested the two because they had wrong documents. We were informed because they were trying to come to South Africa,” he told SAPA.
Inhe Reuters report Zimbabwe also down-played the claim. “We have two Pakistani men in our custody and through Interpol we have established that there is a warrant for one of them,” police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the news service. Asked if one of the men was a terrorism suspect, Bvudzijena said: “I wouldn’t say that at the moment, it is too early, we are still conducting our investigations.”
Home Affairs says 2 173 764 foreign travellers have entered the country so far this year. “This represents a 32% increase of 523 798 from the total of 1 649 966 foreign travellers who visited South Africa in 2009.”
By Thursday last week the count for June alone was 744 520, Home Affairs said in a further statement received by defenceWeb. “An additional 32 743 foreign travellers arrived as at June 24.” The majority of visitors were from Southern African Development Community (SADC) neighbours Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana, followed by the United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, France, Netherlands, Zambia and Argentina.
“Through the Home Affairs 24 hour operational centre, the department is monitoring the movements of travellers via the MCS, the APP system and the deployment of airline liaison officers (ALOs) at strategic hubs abroad,” the statement added.
During the same reporting period (June 1 to 24), 13 638 contraventions were identified at various air and land ports of entry comprising individuals overstaying in terms of their entry conditions, penalties for temporary residence permit abuses and occurrences where a passport was flagged as lost or stolen.