South Africa’s Parliament on Monday welcomed a government decision to relinquish additional documents for foreign children to enter the country.
This came after Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday signed a waiver which will allow foreign children to enter the country without additional supporting documents such as birth certificates and consent letters.
The waiver has been applicable since Friday after the minister’s signature.
“As of Friday, November 8, 2019, foreign children can enter and depart the country without being required to provide birth certificates, consent letters, and other supporting documents relating to proof of parentage,” Motsoaledi said in a statement.
The move concretizes the commitment made by President Cyril Ramaphosa to relax visa regulations to make it easier for tourists to visit the country with the aim of boosting the tourism sector, said Bongani Bongo, chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs.
Bongo said his committee has registered its support for this move and recognizes its importance and potential contribution for economic growth and job creation.
Bongo urged the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), together with the Department of Tourism and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to communicate extensively the new requirements so as to reverse the effects of the previous regulations that were a concern to tourists.
The committee will in the near future engage the DHA on the impact of the changes to the regulations and where the DHA hopes to further explore in efforts to have entry-friendly requirements that are also able to ensure the security of the country, said Bongo.
South Africa imposed strict visa regulations in 2014, requiring foreign children travelling with adults to provide unabridged birth certificates and some other documentation which are hard to obtain. This policy has stemmed the flow of foreign tourists into South Africa.