Of the seven nationalities granted visa-free status by Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi in July, four can now travel to the country without visas.
“As from August 15, travellers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand will no longer require a visa to visit South Africa for holidays, conferencing, and business meeting visits,” the Minister said. He added that the Department of Home Affairs had already sent directives to ports of entry, airlines, and its missions abroad informing them of the removal of visa requirements for nationals of these countries who wish to visit South Africa.
CEO of SATSA, David Frost,
welcomed the waivers. “This is the culmination of a struggle the
private sector has been having since 2014.” Speaking specifically about
New Zealand, Frost added that although the visa waiver was great, visa
requirements for New Zealand should never have been introduced in the
first place. He further pointed out that the introduction of visa
requirements for New Zealand had cost South Africa an estimated R120m
(€7.09m) in its first year.
waivers for the other three countries (Ghana, Cuba, and Sao Tome and
Principe) will be implemented once the department concludes negotiations
with them. Negotiations are scheduled to be complete by the end of
The Minister said the decision had been taken unilaterally, and that
engagements were under way with these countries to see how they could
relax the entry requirements for SA citizens visiting them. “I am glad
to say that Qatar has already waived visa requirements for South
Africans and this will enable our people to attend Qatar FIFA World Cup
2022 more easily,” Motsoaledi said.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business
Council of South Africa (TBCSA) said: “The TBCSA has been working
closely with the Department of Home Affairs in identifying and
submitting an economic rationale to get the waivers for these countries.
The DHA has showed great interest in supporting tourism growth while
balancing security.” He added that the TBCSA was pleased with the speed
with which the department had moved from the announcement of visa
waivers to their implementation. “We are working together in identifying
and motivating for more countries to get visa waivers in a bid to reach
21 million tourist by 2030. Tourism’s potential is great for this
country and, given the space to grow, it will stimulate the economy and
create jobs,” Tshivhengwa added.
“Visa waivers need to be rapidly extended to other markets,” added
Frost. “Especially where people are still required to travel to other
countries to appear in person, in order to satisfy visa requirements.”
“The Department of Home Affairs has an important contribution to make
in growing tourism and by extension, growing the economy and creating
jobs. We are constantly reviewing our operations to ensure that we relax
entry requirements without compromising our responsibility towards the
safety and security of our citizens,” Motsoaledi concluded.
Source: Nomad Africa Magazine