Team to mull ‘consequences’ of new visa laws

With tourism specialists calling the new visa regulations confusing and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry labelling them “economic sabotage”, Cabinet has resolved to set up a team of ministers from the security and economic clusters to address the “unintended consequences” of the rules.

Launched on June 1, the regulations mean children will need an unabridged birth certificate as well as a passport when leaving or entering the country.

In a statement on Thursday after their fortnightly meeting, Cabinet said it had been apprised of the implementation of the recent amendments to the immigration legislation and had noted the views expressed by different sectors.

“In order to hear these views, Cabinet has resolved to set up a team of ministers from both the economic and security clusters. The team is expected to discuss and engage with the concerns with the aim of finding ways to address the unintended consequences brought about by the implementation of these regulations. This team will be convened by [home affairs] minister Malusi Gigaba,” Cabinet said in a statement.  

In addition to the documents, both parents must provide consent for their child or children to travel. If the father did not acknowledge paternity, his consent will not be needed. If both parents’ names are entered on the unabridged birth certificate, then the child would not be able to travel without consent from both parents.

Since the regulations came into effect, organisations have come out strongly against them, with the Democratic Alliance calling for a full-scale review.

Cabinet said the inter-ministerial committee on migration would also continue its work, which “will assist to provide synergy between migration and our laws”.

Cabinet also approved a turnaround strategy for the South African Post Office, and said a new business model was being developed to reduce the reliance on the mail business and move towards a more balanced revenue mix.

The embattled National Prosecutor’s Office was also discussed, with Cabinet expressing its confidence in the NPA “to effectively execute its duties as mandated by our Constitution despite the recent change in its leadership. The NPA remains steadfast in its work, and has the relevant structures and systems in place to continue to promote a crime-free society.”

The National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana stepped down on May 31 after reaching a settlement with President Jacob Zuma.

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