‘Reserve Bank's take on visa regulations is just an opinion’

Malusi Gigaba says people are treating South Africa differently to other countries.

FILE: The new Visa regulations, which require adults travelling with children to have a copy of the minors' unabridged birth certificate.  Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says a comment by the Reserve Bank that new regulations for children travelling to South Africa are harming tourism and could impact the economy is just the bank's opinion.

Yesterday the bank said in its quarterly bulletin that the decline in tourist numbers could inter alia be ascribed to the requirement that they carry their unabridged birth certificate with them.

The bank also said the decline in tourist numbers could affect the country's balance of payments.

Gigaba says this data from the reserve bank does not change his view on these regulations.

"We carry our yellow fever certificate to different countries which require them and that has never stopped us from going to those countries. So the opinions of the Reserve Bank are just that; the opinions of the Reserve Bank."

He also says people are treating South Africa differently to other countries.

"I do not see how an unabridged birth certificate influences whether a person is a tourist or not. There are many other countries which require the same documents and their tourism is not affected."

The Minister says the tourism industry needs to look at this issue properly.

"As soon as we market the country on the basis of its tourism offering, not on the basis of its weak visa regulatory system, I think that tourists will increase their travel to South Africa."

Gigaba says the inter-ministerial committee investigating this issue will publish its recommendations once they've been approved by cabinet.