SADC to confront South Africa over new, stringent, new visa regime

Southern African Development Community member states are contemplating petitioning South African government over its stringent new visa regime.

The new regulations require children under the age of 18 to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate at all ports of entry, a senior Government official said.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said the new system will pose myriad of problems to the region’s tourism since South Africa is the main port of entry for travellers.

“The new visa system pose serious problem for Zimbabwe and the rest of the sub Saharan countries because South Africa is a source market for countries in the region.

“Zimbabwe’s 70% tourists enter through the South African port and the same applies to all countries in SADC”.

Mzembi says the system will cripple the tourism sector.

“We feel aggrieved by the South African Passport Documentation Act which compels countries that are visa free and South Africans themselves to produce unabridged birth certificates.

“The system which is designed to check human trafficking is said to have unintended and negative consequences on the South African tourism as well as other countries’ tourism sectors.

“South Africa has registered a decline of 30% in the tourism sector and the region at large is also bearing the brunt of this new visa system”.

The South Africa Department of Home Affairs on Tuesday kicked off a two-day colloquium in Pretoria to deliberate on South Africa’s international migration policy.

Different stakeholders from the academia, private sector, labour, tourism and other government departments, including the Departments of Health and International Relations and Cooperation, are attending.

According to South Africa media reports, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said discussions should bring about an inclusive policy on international migration.

“Out of this process, we envisage that a modern, progressive and robust policy on international migration will emerge, taking into account the enormous current and potential contribution of immigrants to our society, and our connectedness with the rest of the world, while minimising associated risks and protecting our national interests,” said the Minister.
Source: Online

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