Africa: South African Home Affairs Minister nicknamed “The Tourism Terminator” for his Visa fumbles

South African Home Affairs Minister nicknamed “The Tourism Terminator” for his Visa fumbles

In retaliation against New Zealand for introducing a 10 minute online eVisa process, the Minister of Home Affairs’ department has issued a decree that will result in over 90% of Kiwis having to travel from their home to another city if they want to apply for a visa to visit South Africa which they will have to do in person.

New Zealand has been one of the few countries since the end of apartheid to remove visa requirements for South Africans. Last year they introduced an eVisa for South Africans with a 10 minute online application process.

South Africa’s Home Affairs have responded by reciprocating but have said that all New Zealanders must go to the SA mission in Wellington to apply in person for a visa.

Less than 10% of New Zealanders live in Wellington which is an eight hour drive from the most populous region, Auckland.

Home Affairs wants even New Zealanders living in the same street as the South African High Commission in Canberra, Australia, to go back to Wellington to apply in person. New Zealanders next door in Harare or anywhere in the world, for that matter, can only get a visa if they go to Wellington.

The tit for tat response is completely out of proportion and simply absurd unless there is a plan by Home Affairs to snuff out tourism from New Zealand.

Known in parliament as the Tourism Terminator, Minister Gigaba must have felt threatened by the 20% increase in New Zealand visitors reflected in the latest government statistics for the period January to October last year.

In the month before visas are mandatory on 16 January, the Wellington mission closed for 10 days over Christmas.


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  • I keep wondering what actually happened to the African race many years ago that’s reflecting in a major defect in our DNA. Most of our actions bother on the nonsensical. To ask a pertinent question on this reciprocal, but unbalanced response from this Public Servant, “to what and whose purpose does this serve?” We know that South Africa’s 2nd largest revenue earner is tourism. We know that South Africa is in a recession and poverty rate is high and on an increase. We certainly know that one of the impacts of a growing class of ‘have nots’ is violent crime. Over the past 10 years, South Africa’s tourism industry has seen many ups and downs. The most recent changes and confusion around the visa regulations saw SA’s tourism figures drop an overall 6.8% in 2015. So, what informs such an action by a public servant can only be traced to nothing but a defective DNA that feeds our ignorance. This type of response is not limited to this Minister alone, it cuts across our bureaucratic landscape in almost all African countries. What one would have expected as been the progressive impact South Africa should make is an increase in tourist arrivals which impacts the economy positively through sensible legislation and policies. This is not the case in this instance. We continue to believe that the best of the African race is yet to come and hope that our children will break free from this obvious defect in our DNA.

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