In response to the UK’s imposition of visa requirements on all South Africans in 2010, Department of Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, yesterday announced that South Africa will now enforce similar travel regulations on British nationals.
In what is set to be a tit-for-tat move by the South African government British officials and politicians will soon be required to comply with certain visa regulations before being granted access to the Republic at any of the country’s points of entry.
“The ‘reciprocal measure’ was taken in response to Britain’s introduction in 2010 of visa requirements for all South Africans, including the holders of diplomatic and official passports,” said Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Yet these requirements do not affect ordinary British citizens who will retain the right to travel to South Africa without a visa.
Gigaba elaborated that while the South African government had for years tried to convince Britain to drop or relax their visa requirements for South Africans, or at least for South African diplomats and government officials there had been no progress in this regard.
“We therefore decided that we would reciprocate as (that) is an international principle. We still have exempted the ordinary passport holders of Britain,” said Gigaba.
He added that South Africa have put the new rules in effect on 1 September and will continue to apply pressure to the British government to reach some sort of compromise.
“We would like a situation where the British would heed our request for them to re-introduce a visa exemption for South Africans but we are certainly not on our knees,” Gigaba said.
British officials wanting to visit South Africa — formerly part of the British empire — would have to apply in person for a visa at the South African High Commission in London.
“They are required to present themselves at the South African High Commission in London. Like everybody else they must apply in person and we will interview them. We will grant them a visa if we deem it necessary.”
He said government had been “lenient” on British officials because their visa applications would be free of charge