OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: ACSA
OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture: ACSA

Air travel within the borders of SA should now have returned pretty much to pre-Covid-19 “normality”. You don’t need to prove there’s anything essential about your travel. All you are required to do is to fill in a form (which I can guarantee no-one pays any attention to, but might theoretically enable the health department to track you down if the passenger travelling next to you turned out to be Covid-19 infected).

The Airports Company SA is, however, still using the Covid-19 excuse to harass valet parking operators. It is still enforcing one-way routes in and out of the airports, so passengers are forced to walk circuitous distances to avoid coming face to face with passengers travelling in the opposite direction.

Except, at OR Tambo, exiting domestic travellers walk head-on into departing internationals. On Airlink flights, window seat passengers are boarded separately from aisle seat passengers and are forced to disembark row by row — after which they all board the same bus to get from the plane to the terminal.

Covid-19 has fed the bureaucratic maw at the expense of efficiency. Won’t someone in government — perhaps a senior ANC official who previously worked out the quickest way to milk the system dry — stop this extraordinary inefficiency? I know it will be difficult for the gatekeepers to accept they’re not as important as they thought they were (or used to be) but there’s no point in having playground prefects when they are the bullies.

Michael Fridjhon

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