Beit Bridge File picture: Chris Collingridge/Independent Media
Johannesburg – The Department of Home Affairs has extended operating hours at South Africa's ports of entry to accommodate the anticipated influx of travellers ahead of Easter holidays.

Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said the new schedule would start on April 10 until April 17.

"This is substantively to ease movement for travellers, in and out of the Republic, over the Easter holidays. These reinforcements will apply to ten high volume ports of entry in anticipation of increased numbers of travellers," Mkhize said on Thursday.

She said the Easter period sees a peak in cross-border travelling.

"Over the last four years, there has been a steady increase in traveller movement. An analysis of all movement for March and April 2012-2016 shows an increase from around 5,7 million recorded movements of citizens and foreigners in 2012, to over 7 million in 2016.

Higher numbers are those of foreigners," said the new home affairs minister.

Mkhize said her department had put in place a security plan at South Africa's 10 ports to combat corrupt activities such fraudulent documents, illegal stamping of travel documents.

The ports of entry include OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Beit Bridge in Limpopo, Lebombo and Oshoek in Mpumalanga, Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg in the Free State, Cape Town International Airport, Kopfontein, Ramatlabama in the North West and Golela in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We trust that extending hours will go a long way in minimising burdensome queues, delays and inconveniences to travellers. At the end of the day, our aim is make travel as pleasant as possible. This is important for citizens, and, in the broader scheme of things, for promoting South Africa as a preferred travel destination," said Mkhize.