3 Hour Delays for Tourists at SA’s OR Tambo International Airport with New Biometric Chaos

SAPeople – 19 Oct  2022

Tourists from around the world have had to wait in customs on average for at least three hours at OR Tambo International Airport due to the piloting of a new biometric system, according to the DA that says it has been alerted to these delays in tourists being able to reach the public arrivals area.

The Biometric Movement Control System (BMCS) appears to have been untested, and has effectively gone “live”, instead of being piloted first.

“To take piloting of the systems live concurrently goes against pilot study principles which should be a mini-version of a full-scale study or a trial run done in preparation of the complete study,” points out Manny de Freitas MP – DA Shadow Minister of Tourism.

“The delays create a negative impression to those entering South Africa. In addition, it creates havoc for tour itineraries and programmes which are pre-planned, pre-booked and carefully timed so that tourists maximise their time in our country.”

De Freitas claims some tour groups have had to actually skip pre-booked and pre-paid activities because of these delays at the Joburg airport.

The DA says this is just another example of the ANC failing to understand the major impact on tourism that inefficiency and unprofessionalism have. And that these tourists will go back to their countries and relate their bad experiences which “further impacts negatively on our tourism numbers”.

De Freitas has submitted official questions to the Minister of Home Affairs about the BMCS and the piloting thereof, and has discussed it with DA Home Affairs colleagues.

Similar delays were experienced in 2016 at OR Tambo with the rollout of the biometric system then, to collect data on people arriving and leaving South Africa.


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