South Africa and Visa bureaucracy have a thing that has been going on for a while. How they throw one left right and centre with an unnecessary protocol that barely holds water, but because one needs the damn visa, he or she must play along.
In the days to Africa’s Travel Indaba at the Durban International Convention Centre on Saturday, where international and local delegates graced the occasion, a number of tour operators invited to the event were denied visas, sparking an uproar on social media platforms. Indaba is the continent’s top annual travel and trade fair that attracts thousands of people and media from some 80 countries.
One Ugandan Tour operator Amos Wekesa, the executive director of Great Lakes Safaris, through his Facebook post, threw a tantrum over continued denial of visas to Ugandans to travel to South Africa, irrespective of travel frequency. But a number of Kenyans have suffered in the hands of South Africa’s bureaucracy in getting a visa.
First time I went to SA I requested a multiple entry visa in Nairobi because I wanted to go to SA first, Gaborone, then back to SA. They denied it gave me single entry. Heh!
— Soshi (@daidey) April 24, 2019
Dear Fellow Africans,
Treating each other like this reflects badly on us. Especially when we: (i) give visa-free treatment to non-Africans; (ii) give ‘visa-on-arrival’ treatment to non-Africans; and (iii) otherwise beg non-Africans to visit African countries. pic.twitter.com/08B7iWeQno
— Muthomi Thiankolu (@MThiankolu) April 23, 2019
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his remarks at Africa’s Travel Indaba at the ICC Durban on Saturday, said his government was working towards reducing the enormous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists, who want to visit his country, face. He added that his country was in the process of overhauling the visa dispensation and introducing the world-class e-visa system.
“If a tourist is held back by a lot of red tapes, they immediately give up and go to another destination. This clearly requires that we should streamline our tourist visa regimes and as South Africa, we are committed to working towards the African Union’s goal of a visa-free travel dispensation and a single African air transport market,” Mr Ramaphosa said.
He noted that it is imperative to devote resources to tackling acts of criminality, particularly crimes that are committed against tourists insisting that as a country they are enforcing more safety for the tourists who visit South Africa.