Home Affairs minister wants layout change at OR Tambo airport

Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, says that his departmentwill look to change the current infrastructure layout of the arriving and departing terminals at OR Tambo International airport.

He said that having deployed additional staff, with good results, during the festive season, demonstrated the challenge at the airport around resources.

“Now that the deployed staff had been withdrawn, maintaining the same levels of efficiency and effectiveness poses serious challenges necessitating action,” Gigaba said on Wednesday.

“OR Tambo as a strategic hub requires additional resources on a permanent basis. It is for this reason that the department plans to increase capacity at this airport. To this end, we have allocated R25 million for the 2017/18 financial year, and therefore we should be able to appoint additional 58 immigration officials and fully capacitate our management team,” he said.

A further increase in staff capacity is planned for the 2018/19 financial year, with an additional budget allocation of R17 million, availed by National Treasury.

The minister said however, that the challenges at OR Tambo are not only about staff shortages. Other areas of concern include the current infrastructure layout of the arriving and departing terminals. Engagements with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) are apace to reconsider the current layout of identified areas, Gigaba said.

“Among the proposals is the separation of travellers departing, in the same way as in the Arrival Terminal, where citizens are separated from foreign travellers. The festive period where this proposal was piloted had shown there is value in implementing this option permanently precisely because required services are different for citizens and other clients.”