Holomisa on UK visas: 'UK citizens come and go but we must go through a tedious process'

27 November 2019 - 12:01 By Unathi Nkanjeni
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

While the UK visa for South Africans travelling to the region remains expensive and time-consuming for South Africans to acquire, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has called for the SA government to review the situation.

On Tuesday, Holomisa expressed the frustration of getting a UK visa as a South African visiting Britain.

He said UK citizens come and go, but South Africans must go through a stringent and expensive visa process.

Holomisa said he believed the “tedious requirement” that was implemented in 2009 was unfair.

“Much has changed since then, and one would argue that the time has come for the British and South African governments to reassess, and to alleviate a situation that by design unfairly penalises South Africans and, virtually, still brands us (as a nation) as potential terrorists,” said Holomisa.

“The UDM calls upon the SA government to sit down with their British counterparts to re-evaluate and to ascertain whether the reasons for their decision still stand,” he said.

“Also, the British government must please be requested to publish the details on where we are still failing.”

UK revoking SA’s visa-free status

Before 2009, South Africans were given visa-free entrance to the UK, however, according to a MoveUp report, the UK revoked SA’s visa-free status after 10,000 blank passports went missing.

Last year, the UK government announced amendments to the amount payable by SA visa applicants. As it stands, SA travellers cough up R1,796 for a short-term entry (up to 6 months, single or multiple) and R15,410 for a longer-term document (up to 10 years). 

The British High Commissioner to SA, Nigel Casey, according to Traveller24, said the doubled amount was due to passport fraud being high.

He said it would continue to be an expensive admin application, as it all boils down to the security of SA’s documentation.

Solution on the table 

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi told Radio 702 in October that he wanted the UK to reconsider the visa regulations that currently hinder those booking their flights.

According to Motsoaledi, SA’s new security protocols should be enough to help get the restrictions lifted.

“We used to enter the UK visa-free, but unfortunately, something happened some years back where there were complaints where other nations were able to forge our passport. We have improved, our passports are harder to forge now and we think the UK should reconsider.”

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