South Africa will allegedly scrap the child visa requirements after visitor number declined by “1.5% year-on-year in the first seven months of this year,” Business Tech SA reported. The official announcement is expected to be detailed by President Ramaphose on Friday.
According to a statement issued after a Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday, 20th September, a number of changes will be implemented in the country. One of those pertains to the controversial law that was implemented in 2015. The current requirement is for children to be accompanied by one natural parent, and an original certificate displaying both parents names.
The law, introduced in 2014, was originally part of a plan to try and prevent child trafficking. Business Tech notes that a drop-off of visitors to the country could be why the laws are to be amended.
Full confirmation as to the extent to the law change is not official as yet. However, sources told the news outlet that the amendments will take place and are scheduled for October this year.
Visa negotiation to relax requirements to visit South Africa
Following the Ministry of Home Affairs report to the Cabinet, other restrictions should ease for potential tourists and business people wanting to go to South Africa. These include “negotiations on visa waivers and relaxation of visa requirements for certain countries.”
South Africa is not a very easy country in which to conduct business, which may be the driving factor. Plus, nervous jitters accompany reports of seizure of land without compensation, bringing to mind the economic debacle of neighbouring Zimbabwe. That, coupled with an unsteady monetary Rand, a near recession, and a loss of business confidence may be behind falling numbers.
Many western holiday-makers sit on the fence about visiting. They have concerns about the high crime rate and reports of endangered animal poaching. Violent service protests outside the gates of places like Kruger National Park recently scared people away from returning.
Target countries are China and India with massive tourist numbers
The government seems to be amending the rules to attract more business investment and tourists from countries like China and India. News24 reported that these two countries have the largest outbound tourism numbers in the world. It was noted by the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom in July, that “China accounted for 130 million travellers globally, with India forecast [to] have 50 million people travelling abroad by 2020.”
According to Business Tech, the new visa amendments will make it much easier for leisure and business travellers.
The changes should include online visa applications, fewer requirements for certain skilled workers, and multiple entry visas. However, the details of the extent of the amendments to the child visa requirements after the visitor fall-off, have not yet been officially confirmed.