Information from the Department of Home Affairs has it that a total of 5 504 022 people traveled across South Africa’s borders between 9 December 2016 and 14 January 2017.
According to the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba the figure represents a national increase of 3.78 percent when compared to the previous record of 5 303 555.
He disclosed that the top 10 nationalities that arrived in SA over this period were from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, United Kingdom, USA, Namibia, Germany and Zambia.
Read Also: Illegal Immigrants Busted in Overloaded Taxi
Also, the top ten ports by volume between 9 December 2016 and 14 January 2017 were, Oliver Tambo International Airport, Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, Cape Town International Airport, Oshoek, Kopfontein, Ramatlabama and Groblers Bridge.
Adding that 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, Home Affairs said:
“The 2016/17 festive season was marked by increased movement of people and goods across borders for different reasons, varying from cross-border employment and business to academic and educational endeavors.
We also observed a high number of travelers crossing borders for holiday and tourist purposes – which is one of important priorities for the country.
This movement is facilitated by a large number of ports of entry, with numbers of those travelling being cyclically influenced by the reasons for travelling, and thus we observe increases in movements during the year.”
The Department further related that on 6 December 2016, a suspected extremist and known member of ISIS, traveled to South Africa.
The Syrian national was stopped and refused entry at OR Tambo. He had two passports (Uruguayan and Syrian) in his possession.
“This also goes to show the important role immigration plays in security. Before the 2016/17 festive period, South Africa had beefed-up security by rolling out biometrics at selected ports.
“On the whole, I am very grateful for the excellent work done by our dedicated immigration officers in partnership with their colleagues from other government departments and agencies.
“The 2016/17 festive season operation was executed successfully and proficiently, thus allowing for a sound base for preparing for the next operation – Easter 2017,” commented Minister Gigaba.