Johannesburg - The home affairs department will extend its office hours and increase the number of staff on duty during the African Cup of Nations, it said on Thursday

Director-General Mkuseli Apleni this would be done to ensure visitors received efficient services during the soccer tournament.

“(We are) required to implement certain guarantees... to ensure the efficient, secure and effective facilitation of the movement of the members of African football fraternity into our country during this period.”

He said to ensure this happened, the department would grant visa waivers to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) delegation.

The same would go for national teams and members of other soccer federations, as not all African countries were exempted from visa requirements to enter South Africa.

Apleni said the department would strengthen its response units in five provinces to respond quickly to reports of illegal immigrants.

About 300 additional home affairs staff members would be deployed at the borders, some of which would be operational 24-hours a day.

The targeted borders would be Maseru Bridge, Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Oshoek and Kopfontein, as they experienced high volumes of people and goods in the festive season, said Apleni.

The soccer tournament is scheduled to take place from January 19 to February 10, but the department said it would start implementing its plans by December 15, when the festive season gets underway. - Sapa