Saturday, 5 January 2008

Immigration Officers - Don't You Just Love 'em?

Do they train these people to be as stupid and ignorant as possible or are they just born that way?

So we arrive in Jo'burg - it had been a long flight and we still had to get down to Cape Town, but if you enter the country at Jo'burg that is where you go through immigration, we walked into the immigration hall and separated - Mrs Dubai is South African, I'm not. Mrs Dubaibilly joins a queue of about 30 to 40 people for which there were 12 immigration officers - very efficient I hear you say. I join a queue of about 3 to 4 hundred people and how many immigration officers did we have? Four. They had a single queue system - until you got to the front and then it changed into 4 separate queues, one for each immigration officer - unbelievable. I joined a particular queue and got to second place in that only to have a roving immigration officer (who's job appeared to be to cause chaos) inform me that I was queueing in the wrong place and demand that I queue up like everyone else - even though I'd spent about three quarters of an hour getting to where I was - I joined one of the three remaining queues behind several people who should have been behind me and she seemed satisfied.

Leaving the country was just as bad:

We joined a queue, at a particular point me, Mrs DB and about 5 other people where told by and immigration official to "Come this way please", "I don't have a Diplomatic passport", "It doesn't matter, come this way!" OK we went that way, walked to the little box and another roving immigration official said "Do you people have Diplomatic passports?". "No but we were sent this way". "No you weren't, go back and join the queue".

How do you deal with people like this? This is the country that is going to have several hundred thousand football fans from all over the world descend upon it in June 2010 for the World Cup and they can't handle a little queue. Perhaps some serious training is required in between now and then!


Bridget Jones said...

Sorry to hear about your experience. I used Jo'burg airport a lot a few years back, I don't recall it being so bad. They must have gotten worse between then and now! Let's hope the Springboks get their act together before 2010 ha!

Keefieboy said...

So, get a diplomatic passport? Is that like an ordinary one that's been trained to speak nicely to people but never, ever actually do anything? Or what?

Jin said...

You swear, in your home language. Customs/Immigration officials are NOT God, altho they tend to think they are. I kicked up a hellova fuss when I departed thru Oliver Tampon Int. in August, all over a bottle of perfume that one security 'officer' thought would be nice to take home to his missus. Wrong!!! You can be polite, but insulting sed officials in another language just takes the edge off of things :-)

dubaibilly said...

unfortunately, Jin, my home language is English - and I don't want to get arrested at Mr Tambo's unbelievable mess of an airport!

Mars said...

Dhaka airport was fun. Things go smoother if you have someone working in the airport. Otherwise be prepared to pay your way for faster service.