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Task team to investigate Department of Home Affairs’ new visa regulations

On Friday South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba confirmed in a press statement that a task team has been assembled to carry out an inquest into the implementation of the country’s new visa and travel regulations. Moneyweb reported Gigaba as saying that, "In many instances we have engaged with many people who had specific concerns about the regulations,"

Task Team To Investigate Department Of Home Affairs’ New Visa Regulations

Gigaba met with airline representatives and travel agents in Pretoria on Friday.

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

The minister added that the South African travel industry and related role players used the meeting to emphasize that South Africa was competing with other destinations around the world and that travelling freely in and out of the country had a direct effect on the future of the South African tourism industry.

Gigaba, on behalf of the South African Department of Home Affairs, acknowledged there was a greater need to intensify communication with stakeholders and missions abroad regarding the new regulations saying that this step would help ease concerns and would effectively deal with confusion amongst the stake holders.

Although the ministry had not yet set a time frame for the task team it confirmed that the focus of the task team would be broader than the tourism industry.

Minister Gigaba emphasized that the task team not be mandated to review the new travel and visa regulations itself, but rather the implementation thereof come the implementation date of 1 October 2014

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

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

It is expected that an announcement about the regulations, in particular its effect on South African tourism and the concerns raised by the industry, could be expected later this week.

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

The Department of Home Affairs stated that it is “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."

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