AfriForum said that while they welcomed Wednesday’s announcement by the South African Department of Home affairs on the implementation of the new South African Travel and Immigration rules, they said that the country’s immigration rules needed to be reviewed.
The organisation suggested that and overall review, focusing not only on human trafficking, but should include the promotion of a well-managed immigration system looking after the interests of the tourism industry, said AfriForum’s Sue-Ann de Wet.
In their statement AfriForum said that they recognised that human trafficking was a serious problem, but tourism was a vital industry promoting the growth of the country through income generation and job creation.
“South Africa is a tourist attraction that faces many challenges such as crime, the fact that it is no longer as cheap to visit the country as it was in the past, and that it is situated far from other continents,” De Wet said.
“Thus, long expensive trips are required to visit the country. Therefore it must be made easy for the bona fide tourist to enter the country, but also for the local tourist to travel to foreign countries.”
AfriForum stated that as far as immigration rules are concerned, significant regulations were important.
“South Africa faces various shortcomings when it comes to skills, and if the tourist gets put off by unreasonable regulations, immigrants will too,” she said.
“AfriForum suggests that all regulations be reviewed properly to accommodate all important roleplayers,” said their statement.
The organization suggested that the review should not exclude the effect it could have on tourism operators, airlines, migration specialists and foreign affairs, who should be involved in the review by the home affairs department to find practical solutions.
“Currently, the department is not concerned with these roleplayers,” said De Wet.
“AfriForum wants to work together as partners instead of frequently considering legal action and mobilisation.”
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday announced that the implementation of two of the new immigration regulations on travelling minors would again be delayed, after its implementation scheduled for 1 May was moved to 1 October and now again until 1 July 2015.
The new regulations include that parents travelling with a child had to have an unabridged birth certificate. The requirements become more onerous for single parents travelling with a child, or adults travelling with a child who is not their own.
As New World Immigration reported during the run-up to 1 October, the regulations had received wide-spread criticism from various organization and resulted in parents, airlines and tourism industry role players protesting that obtaining un-abridged birth certificates from the South African Department of Home Affairs could take up to a year to obtain.