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'No special treatment' while SA visa rules get amended

Actor Idris Elba was unable to enter SA after failing to produce an unabridged certificate for his daughter.

FILE. The department has refuted claims that it’s dragging its feet to avoid making changes recommended by an inter-ministerial committee. Picture: Andres de Wet/Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department says people traveling in and out of South Africa still need to follow its new visa regulations while it works to implement amendments.

The department has refuted claims that it's dragging its feet to avoid making changes recommended by an inter-ministerial committee.

Last month, the committee called for visa laws demanding biometric testing and unabridged birth certificates for children traveling into the country to be amended.

This week British actor Idris Elba was unable to enter the country after failing to produce an unabridged certificate for his daughter.

Home Affairs spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete says the new laws still remain in place while amendments are underway.

"We agreed with our staff at the department, the Department of Social Development, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Defence and the Department of Trade And Industry. It was a diverse collective that agreed to these timelines and the department is not in contravention or overrunning those timelines."

The department says it's still bound by its new visa regulations and won't show special treatment for people who don't follow them.

It says the changes will start coming into effect within the next two months.

Tshwete says even though amendments are underway, the department still won't tolerate non-compliance.

"That would be something that would make the department liable if anyone says their child moved illicitly through our borders. We can't do something that's against our own laws."