Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday announced that South Africa took a decision to reciprocate by withdrawing the visa exemption which New Zealand passport holders enjoy.
This is in response to New Zealand’s withdrawal of visa free travel arrangements for South African passport holders.
Addressing the media in Pretoria earlier today, Minister Gigaba said South Africa has, for some time now, adopted a visa policy which is based on the principle of reciprocity.
Minister Gigaba said New Zealand diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders, who arrive at a South African port of entry on or after 16 January 2017 and who are not in possession of a visa for the intended purpose and duration of stay, will not be allowed entry into South Africa.
“We have been of the considered view that South Africa on its part should not unduly impose severe restrictions on other states and their citizens wishing to travel to our country.
“It is not our policy to deter foreign visitors or to reduce the flow of tourists, businesspeople and other travellers to our country. Immigration, particularly for development, is high on our agenda, and thus the current endeavour on our part comprehensively to review our international migration policy.
“We remain ever committed to the vision of a country, region, continent and world in which people are and feel safe, and shall not be distracted from working for the creation of a better continent and a better world for all of humanity,” Minister Gigaba said.
On 19 September 2016, the New Zealand High Commission officially informed the South African Government of a decision by the New Zealand Government to introduce visa requirements for all South African nationals wishing to travel to New Zealand with effect from 21 November 2016.
On 3 October 2016, an announcement in this regard was made in the media.
The New Zealand Government attributed certain factors which led them to the decision to withdraw the visa waiver arrangements for South African passport holders. It listed as among the factors:
- The number of South African visitors who exploit the visa waiver arrangement to visit family and friends in New Zealand, as opposed to travelling to New Zealand for tourism or business purposes;
- The number of South African visitors who had overstayed the three months visa waiver limit or who did not return to South Africa; and
- The number of South African travellers who had been refused entry at the New Zealand border due to counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.