The Department of Home Affairs is introducing a number of changes that will make it easier for people to travel to and from South Africa.
Presenting the Home Affairs budget vote on Wednesday (10 July), deputy minister Njabulo Bheka Nzuza said that the changes would also include improvements to the department’s security systems.
Chief among these is an upgrade to the Advanced Passenger Processing System.
This system allows us to see and target undesirable visitors before they even board a flight from their destination and us capacity to stop undesirable visitors for purposes of national security, Nzuza said.
“We are now going further by establishing the National Targeting Centre that will do risk assessments on visitors after they have boarded flights as a secondary control system.
“This is critical to ensure that undesirable and risky visitors are kept at bay, to create a secure environment for the country.”
Nzuza said that in addition to profiling trusted travellers, the National Targeting Centre will also tie into the new e-gates system.
“These (trusted) travellers will be registered in our e-gates systems which will open for them automatically as they present themselves at our airports of entry,” he said.
He added that the new e-gates are ‘world-class systems’ that are linked with international policing and security.
“We are moving forward with our e-gates system in partnership with ACSA. This system will work by registering individuals as trusted travelers. Thus South Africans who are bona fide citizens who are not flagged on the stop risk engines will now be part of our trusted travellers which will drastically ease traffic for citizens giving us more capacity to speedily handle visitors.”
“As a result of this technology, our airports will now rank higher within the international community making it a desirable destination for doing business,” he said.
Nzuza also announced that the country’s new eVisa system will launch in November 2019.
This ‘virtual visa’ system will allow tourists and visitors to apply for their South Arican visas online. These applications will then be sent to a central adjudication for approval whilst the visitors sit in the comfort of their own home, he said..
Nzuza added that this system will combat visa fraud and will open South Africa as a desirable destination through the ease of our visa systems.
Ahead of this, seven new countries have been added to the list of nations that are able to come to South Africa without a visa, said Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
These countries include:
- United Arab Emirates
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- Sao Tome and Principe
“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that Tourism is very important for job creation,” he said.
“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.”