Passengers ‘on the run’ after passport oversight

About 200 people who flew to Johannesburg International airport from Lagos, Nigeria, entered South Africa on Thursday morning without having their passports checked.

Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Nkosana Sibuyi told the Mail & Guardian Online on Thursday afternoon that the managers responsible, including the head of immigration at the airport, have reported to him about the situation.

”Right now, we know that around 5am this morning [Thursday] an airplane from Lagos, Nigeria, landed here [at Johannesburg International airport]. There were very few immigration officers around at that time to assist the passengers. Because of that, not everyone got their passport stamped.”

All around the world, travellers need to have their passport stamped at an immigration office before entering a country. If they don’t, they are considered illegal immigrants.

There were about 200 people on South African Airways (SAA) flight SAA 61. Their nationality is unknown. Sibuyi said some people came back on Friday to have their passport stamped.

”I am still waiting for the exact numbers, but I can say that I am very happy with the element of discipline those people showed.”

What is still unclear is how many people are still ”on the run”.

”We now work very closely with the airlines, because these people are here illegally. It is easy for us to trace them; SAA has a list of the passengers’ names.”

Sibuyi could not yet confirm what the department’s next step will be, besides checking the passenger list.

SAA spokesperson Jackie O’Sullivan said the airline does not have anything to do with the situation.

”The immigration office at home affairs is the one to contact,” she said.

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Elvira Van Noort
Guest Author

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Zuma takes aim at Zondo following release of final report

Former president intends to review aspects of the full report, in which he has been directly implicated in wide-scale looting of the state

Gauteng ANC conference likely to produce mixed bag of leaders

No slate is expected to emerge victorious as poorly coordinated conference finally gets under way

Art imitates life at the National Arts Festival

This year’s National Arts Festival in Makhanda - the first live one since the pandemic - tackles unemployment, the Marikana Massacre and the manner in which black women in society are written about

Pride is a heavy price to pay

While constitutionally protected, the LGBTQIA+ community is being failed by the state

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…