Ramaphosa will head committee to solve new visa rules headache


South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa reveals that Lesotho will hold National General Elections towards the end of February 2015.

PRETORIA – President Jacob Zuma announced that a new inter-ministerial committee has been established to deal with the unintended consequences of the new travel visa regulations.

“We’ve noted complaints on the visa regulations,” said Zuma.

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa will chair the committee.

The committee comprises the ministers of tourism, home affairs, trade and industry, social development and small business development.

Zuma was giving an update on progress made after the State of the Nation Address earlier this year.

The latest visa requirements -- which came into effect on 1 June 2015 -- stipulate that foreigners who want to visit SA must apply for visas in person at South African embassies abroad. Visitors will also need to have their biometric data captured at an embassy. 

The revised regulations dictate that children of all nationals and foreigners must be accompanied by unabridged birth certificates in addition to their passports when entering or leaving the country.

The new regulations apply only to children travelling with one parent and those arriving from visa-exempt countries. 

Government says the measure is aimed at curbing international child trafficking.

The tourism industry -- which contributes nine percent to the country&39;s GDP and employs around 1.5 million people -- was alarmed by the decision, arguing the regulations were too cumbersome and would drive tourists away from South Africa.

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