Mixed reactions over Gigaba’s new 'simplified' visa regulations

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa is warning the requirement that foreign children carry documents will result in fewer visits to this country.

FILE: Former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There has been a mixed reaction to the new visa regulations announced by the Home Affairs Ministry.

Minister Malusi Gigaba says among the changes is that foreigners will now be required to prove parental consent if a travelling minor does not have the correct documents.

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa is warning the requirement that foreign children carry documents will result in fewer visits to this country.

The council's Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says this will still set South Africa back.

“Nothing has changed as far as we see it. You are not going to have a tourist all the way over here just to be questioned at the airport in terms of whether they carry their birth certificates or not.”

Tshivengwa also added that the department should take away laws that are self-imposed in order for the country to be competitive.

“We are positioned to employ a whole lot more people if we get more tourists to come into this country. So, let us take away the regulations that are self-imposed so that we can be competitive in the world.”

However, David Dowson from the British Chamber of Business in South Africa says the regulations are fair.

“We certainly welcome this very much, and we’re making our position fairly clear for some time with South African authorities that the visa regime should be made easier."

Gigaba announced changes to South African visa regulations to simplify travelling in and out the country.

Gigaba says countries that enjoy visa waivers such as Russia and Angola have contributed to the increase in the number of tourists visiting South Africa.

The minister also announced that the development of a new e-visa is at an advanced stage and will be piloted in New Zealand next year.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)