South Africa will pilot its e-Visa in New Zealand by April 2019 in a bid to improve efficiency of visa applications.
“Once glitches identified during the pilot phase have been addressed, the e-Visa will be rolled out to other countries,” said Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Gigaba made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday.
The briefing follows an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on changes to the visa regime as part of the economic stimulus and recovery plan.
South Africa will also pilot e-Gates at OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports by 2019.
This will allow returning South African citizens, as well as certain categories of trusted travellers, to be processed electronically as opposed to interacting with an immigration officer.
“This will increase efficiencies and convenience, and improve facilitation of movement of frequent travellers going through our international airports, thus creating our capacity to service those that still require manual assistance through physical availability of immigration officers,” said the Minister.
Movement control system at ports of entry
To ease congestion at the country’s ports of entry and improve efficiency, South Africa is currently finalising the development of a new Biometric Movement Control System.
This will be piloted at Cape Town and Lanseria International Airports.
The biometrics capturing system is currently at selected airports, namely OR Tambo, King Shaka, Lanseria and Cape Town International Airports.
A biometrics capture system is at the six busiest land ports – Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Ficksburg, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek and Kopfontein.
“Though unrelated to visas, the above six are the land ports of entry, where we also receive the highest volumes of complaints regarding congestion.
Gigaba said processes are underway to deal with congestion to ensure human movement and smooth trade relations and tourism with South Africa’s neighbours.
In the current financial year, Gigaba said his department is working on expanding biometrics to all remaining ports on the enhanced movement control system (eMCS).
Border Management Authority
Gigaba also announced that the Border Management Authority Bill is currently at the National Council of Provinces and is in its final stages.
The bill aims to optimise border control operations and processes by establishing an integrated Border Management Authority.