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Home affairs denies turning away Bill Gates due to visa rules

The department says it has no records of Bill Gates having entered the country in the past few days.

Bill Gates and SA president Jacob Zuma at the G20 Summit in France in 2012. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - The home affairs department has strongly denied reports that Bill Gates and his daughter were denied entry into South Africa because of strict new visa rules.

Morning Live anchor Leanne Manas tweeted that the American business magnate had landed at the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park about a week ago, but was turned away because he didn't have his daughter's unabridged birth certificate with him.

Bill Gates & his daughter landed at Sabi Sabi with his daughter a week ago only to be turned away because of no unabridged birth certificate

Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba responded to the tweet, asking for Manas to provide further details.

Upon investigating, the department said it has no records of Gates having entered the country in the past few days and if he were to visit, he would be expected to abide by the law.

We contacted Sabi Sabi to verify info that @LeanneManas tweeted this morning. This is their response. #HomeAffairs pic.twitter.com/cibcafluYR

Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said, "If Bill Gates had gone to a port of entry and didn't have the necessary documents our immigration officers were going to apply the law and ask him to provide documents."

Manas subsequently apologised for her initial tweet.

I had no reason to believe that the information provided to me by a highly credible source was Unverified. I apologize all #hardlessonlearnt

The home affairs department has had to deal with a great deal of criticism to its new visa regulations which came into effect earlier this year as an attempt to stop child trafficking.

The regulations require additional documents to be produced in a bid to protect children who are travelling.

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