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South Africa launches biometrics collection pilot at airports


South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has launched a pilot project in which it will capture and collect biometric data at various international airports across the country, according to a report by Daily Travel & Meetings.

The pilot program is part of the overall initiative to update its Enhanced Movement Control System (EMCS) at all ports of entry, which includes the implementation of biometric technology.

Security officials at O.R. Tambo International Airport, near Johannesburg, began training on capturing biometric data last week, although the biometrics data is not being collected at this point in the pilot.

In addition to O.R. Tambo International Airport, Lanseria International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport will all serve as key pilot sites to conduct testing on biometric data collection.

The pilot project is currently underway at Lanseria, while King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport are scheduled to begin on November 12.

The department said it aims to have the biometric capability permanently enabled on all arrival and transit counters from November 25.

During the initial period of the pilot, only certain passengers will be selected to be biometrically captured until the biometric system is deemed stable.

Previously reported, South Africa will collect visitor biometrics at its airports and accept visa requests by mail, in an effort to reverse a significant drop in the number of tourists over the past year.

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