Team to look at visa regulations' implementation: Gigaba

12 September 2014 - 14:44
By Sapa
Malusi Gigaba. File photo
Image: TMG Malusi Gigaba. File photo

A task team will be established to look at the implementation of the new visa regulations, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday.

"In many instances we have engaged with many people who had specific concerns about the regulations," Gigaba told reporters in Pretoria after a meeting with airline representatives and travel agents.

"Industry raised concerns with regards to the free movement of persons.... Quite clearly, the business we do impacts on the [tourist] industry."

He said industry had emphasised that South Africa was competing with other destinations around the world, and the department acknowledged there was a greater need to intensify communication with stakeholders and missions abroad regarding the new regulations.

A time frame for the task team had not been set. Its focus would be broader than just the tourism industry.

The task team was not a review of the regulations, but of their implementation.

"It's how do we better implement these regulations," Gigaba said.

He said Home Affairs Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan met Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and the tourism council last week.

An announcement could be expected next week about the regulations and issues specifically raised by the tourism industry.

"We are going to be considering other proposals that have been made regarding unabridged birth certificates and other issues," Gigaba said.

The department had an open minded about proposals about the regulations, as long as its needs, especially around child trafficking and security, were accommodated.

In the meantime, the implementation of the new regulations would proceed as planned.

"The different visas that are available will stay and will not be reviewed," Gigaba said. "At the present moment the clock has not stopped."

South Africa's new immigration regulations introduced a new visa regime.

The regulations draw a clear distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits.

They stipulate that visa applications need to be made by applicants in person, and that those wanting to change the status of their visa can no longer do so in South Africa, but at missions.