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Tourism, Home Affairs 'close to an agreement' on travel of minors

Malusi Gigaba introduced regulations in 2014 requiring the child's unabridged birth certificates and parental letters of consent when travelling.

FILE: Former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says he and his Home Affairs counterpart Malusi Gigaba are “close to an agreement” on the travel of minor children to South Africa.

Gigaba introduced regulations in 2014 requiring children to present unabridged birth certificates and parental letters of consent when travelling alone or with a guardian or single parent.

This had an impact on tourist numbers after the new rules were implemented in 2015 and saw Hanekom and Gigaba at loggerheads.

The two ministers on Wednesday had their first meeting since being returned to their portfolios by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his first Cabinet reshuffle in late February.

Gigaba and Hanekom seem to have buried the hatchet, agreeing to set up a team of officials from both their departments to speed up work on easing visa and entry requirements and boost tourist numbers.

Hanekom says there could be an announcement on the rules relating to children under 18 “within weeks”.

“We are very close to an agreement on that, there are one or two things that have to be finalised and then we can make an announcement in this regard.”

Gigaba says they’re looking at international best practice.

“We’ve tasked our respective teams to look at additional measures that are going to make it easy for people to travel with minor children without compromising the security of children.”

Gigaba says he’s also pushing his department to introduce electronic visas for visitors by the end of the financial year.

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