Last week the Telegraph reported that “strict rules on travelling to South Africa with children are still catching out Britons, with an average of 10 families denied boarding each day at Heathrow”. Home Affairs came out with a statement Monday strongly denying this.
MEDIA STATEMENT ON UK VISITORS TO SOUTH AFRICA FROM SOUTH AFRICA’S DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS
The Department of Home Affairs has noted reports about UK-based travelers to South Africa experiencing serious problems as a result of our immigration regulations. We wish to categorically state that these reports are baseless and inaccurate, stemming largely from exaggeration and distortion of facts. The same goes for claims regarding families coming to our country.
More travelers from the UK are coming to our shores. Our data systems for recording arrivals and departures at ports of entry show a notable increase of 3% for UK travelers to SA between 01 November and 23 December 2015. A total of 82772 UK travelers had arrived in this period, in 2015, compared to 79998 for the same period in 2014. Also for children, we experienced an increase in the number of arrivals for the 01 November 2015 to 23 December2015 period, with 8745 arrivals recorded, compared to 8508 in 01 November 2014to 23 December 2014 – an increase of 3%.
The Department has always been consistent in discussions of the 2014 immigration regulations, indicating that welcome tourists and others to our country as tourism stimulates economic activity, assisting SA in realizing the aims of the National Development Plan.
Home Affairs wants what is best for the country as can be seen in concessions announced by Cabinet in October 2015 that had been made to attract critical skills and foreign students. But we cannot be reckless in any policy formulation and implementation, thus the need consciously to balance economic goals with security interests.
Home Affairs officials continue to do the best that they can even with the heavy pressure exerted by the high festive season traveler volumes. Improving traveler processing at ports of entry for enhanced client satisfaction is among the apex priorities of the Department.