close menu

SA to turn tables on UK?

by 1st Contact | May 29, 2013
  • South African Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor made a statement in Parliament in May that has South Africans divided and Brits feeling a little anxious.
  • 123_SA-to-turn-tables-on-UK

    "We had been given a promise that following the (London) Olympics, there would be a focus on whether this visa requirement can be lifted. There hasn't been any movement and I think the time has come for us to consider reciprocity."

    The statement was apparently borne out of frustration caused by the UK government’s reluctance to lift visa requirements for South Africans, despite recent talks hinting at doing just that. It also comes just weeks after a diplomatic row erupted when Britain announced it would cut its £19m annual development aid to South Africa.

    South Africa's visa-free status was revoked in 2009 amid concerns about corruption within the South African home affairs department and the apparent ease with which foreign nationals could get South African passports. (A British court heard that at least 6 000 illegal Asian immigrants had been smuggled into the UK on South African passports.)

    Thousands of South Africans were suddenly forced to pay around R1000 for a short-term visa, whether visiting friends and family or doing business in the UK. It has also caused bureaucratic issues for South African businessmen, officials and diplomats.

    But recently, the South Africa government hinted at the possibility of the ban being lifted, after efforts to “clean up its act”.

    The South African government said that internal corruption has been eradicated and that stricter measures had been taken to clean up the national population register and redesign the security features of South African passports.

    But it seems the UK is not budging and Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor might consider a “tit for tat” visa strategy, whereby Brits would be forced to obtain a visa to enter South Africa.

    Opinions are split as to whether or not this is a good idea, with some saying the country could use the extra income and others warning that the visa could deter Brits from visiting South Africa, with catastrophic effects.

    Tourism expert Martin van Niekerk told Beeld newspaper that the move was short-sighted and could negatively affect the country’s economy, as Britain was South Africa’s largest tourist market.

    Beeld also reported that Prof Sanette Ferreira, of Stellenbosch University's geography and environmental studies department, added that complex logistics with visa applications would probably deter British visitors. She added that SA didn’t have the capacity for a complex system and was already struggling to produce ID books.

    • medical-cross-and-heart
      The NHS vs Medicare: Which is better?
      Jan 30, 2018  |  by 1st Contact
    • big-ben-london-at-night
      What is the cost of living in London in 2018?
      Jan 25, 2018  |  by 1st Contact
    • house-key
      To rent in the UK, you absolutely need to have the right to rent
      Jan 19, 2018  |  by Leanne Shrosbree
    • man-making-more-money
      This is how contractors can take home more cash
      Jan 09, 2018  |  by Kobus Van den Bergh
    • airport-waiting-takeoff-plane
      5 pro tips for surviving your long-haul flight
      Dec 19, 2017  |  by Kobus Van den Bergh
    • young-friends-drinking-beer-at-pub
      10 interesting facts about the UK working holiday visa
      Nov 27, 2017  |  by John Dunn
    • big-ben-on-union-jack
      How long it will take to qualify for ILR in 2018
      Nov 23, 2017  |  by John Dunn
    • blog autumn budget summary
      Autumn Budget 2017: Summary points
      Nov 22, 2017  |  by Scott Brown
    • couple-marriage
      Getting married in the UK? You may need a Marriage Visitor visa
      Nov 21, 2017  |  by John Dunn
    • isle-of-skye-uk
      The top 10 places to visit in the UK (that are not London)
      Nov 08, 2017  |  by Leanne Shrosbree

    Do you like cookies? We do, read why.