As part of government's commitment to stop criminals from using South Africa's exit and entry points, a group of 350 former National Defence Force (SANDF) members have recently received intensive training in Cuba.
The programme, introduced by the Department of Home Affairs, trained officers to provide security at national key points including land, air and sea ports of entry, as well as at major airports.
The training included spotting and picking out suspects, as well as welcoming visitors at the first points of entry into South Africa. The training was a joint pilot project between the Departments of Home Affairs and the Department of Justice.
According to the Minister of Home Affairs Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the training is part of the department's renewed focus on immigration, points of entry, refugees, the issuing of permits and travellers entering and leaving and the country.
According to team commander Siphiwe Maphumulo, the recruitment process for the officers was tough. Only qualified, trained officers with a service-delivery ethic and who displayed qualities such as organisational fitness, honesty, loyalty, patriotism and security awareness were chosen. Selected candidates underwent a vigorous testing process. This included psychiatric tests to ensure that they would be suitable for the job.
Better service delivery
The officers took up their posts at the OR Tambo International Airport throughout the festive period. They have already made a significant contribution towards the smooth movement of more than two million travellers in and out of the country in the period leading up to 2012.
Minister Dlamini Zuma applauded the officers for their hard work, which resulted in great strides to improve the department's service delivery levels.