OR Tambo preparations receive thumbs up

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma took a tour of OR Tambo International on Friday and gave the airport's preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup, the thumbs up.

OR Tambo is the main port of entry into the country for international soccer fans, teams and FIFA delegates arriving ahead of Sunday's FIFA Confederations Cup.

"We are here to make sure that the infrastructure and systems are in place and ready to receive international visitors smoothly.

"I'm happy about what I saw today, our immigration officers have just shown that they are also ready to receive high volumes of people for the 2010 World Cup," Minister Dlamini-Zuma said.

Ms Dlamini Zuma said she was confident that all South Africa's international guests would be received by professional Airport Company of South Africa (ACSA) staff.

The special event visas, which was to be piloted during the Confederations Cup for implementation during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, have been used successfully by Egyptian soccer fans.

Egypt is the only other African country which will be participating in the Confederations Cup to be held in South Africa in June.

The event visa allows soccer fans to use dedicated counters at airports and give them pre-clearance before they arrive. They also go through a pre-screening and pre-clearance process at selected ports of entry with a free event visa.

ACSA General Manager, Chris Hlekane, told BuaNews they were expecting large volumes of spectators to pass through the airports terminals.

"We are confident that with the new infrastructure in place we will be able to render professional service to our international passengers," Mr Hlekane said.