December 10, 2015 -
South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) plans to implement biometrics capturing devices at every port of entry by July or August 2016, following the recent launch of its pilot program to collect biometric data at the country’s international airports, according to a report by Corporate Traveller.
The DHA began taking biometrics and photos of travelers within three months of the inter-ministerial committee’s recommendations of collecting visitor biometrics at its airports.
The agency plans to introduce the machines at four ports of entry every month, with priority given to those ports of entry that receive the highest volume of passengers, according to DHA spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete.
Currently, the biometric machines are not installed at all arrival and transit counters at OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport as the project is still being tested.
Tshwete said that biometrics are only being collected from international transit passengers during the busy month of December at OR Tambo because the volume of travellers is far too high.
He also added that by early next year, immediately following the end of the peak period, all international travellers would be submitting biometric data at OR Tambo.
Meanwhile, Amy Thompson, Acsa customer care supervisor of viewing deck and social media at OR Tambo International Airport, said that biometrics are only being collected at transit counters on select travellers at the airport.
She added that biometrics are expected to be permanently enabled at all transit and arrival counters by the beginning of next year.
Claudette Vianello, marketing, media and pr manager for Lanseria, said that biometric data is currently being captured at Lanseria International Airport.
“From mid-December, the biometric project will be officially launched at Cape Town International Airport and we will speak to operations about launching at King Shaka International Airport,” said Mayihlome.
Once the project is fully implemented, all international travelers will be required to submit biometric data at the arrival and transit counters at SA’s international airports, regardless of whether they need a visa to enter the country, said Mayihlome.