Plans for South Africa to share passport with 14 other countries

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has announced plans to introduce a new regional law which would see all SADC countries holding a common passport.

This would allow for easy passage between bordering countries, and provide a single travel document for international travel, according to Traveller24.

This follows the introduction of an AU passport for dignitaries and officials during an African Union conference held in July 2016, with the ultimate to extend the travel document to all Africans at a later date.

Speaking to Traveller24, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Ambassador Ramadhani Mwinyi confirmed that his department was working to ensure that an individual only uses one passport as an international travel document across the globe.

“The current work between member states was to integrate systems to ensure an East African national who is also a member of SADC carries only one travel document,” said Mwinyi.

The current SADC countries include:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Seychelles
  • Tanzania
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Official comment

Home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete has acknowledged the proposed plans but confirmed that at this stage the department did not think the new document was feasible.

This is primarily because one of the main preconditions of the new document included the need for all of the participating countries to keep an up to date national population registry, said Thswete speaking to BusinessTech.

“There are many preconditions that need to be met first. If we use the EU as an example there are clear considerations of infrastructure, growth of the economy and record-keeping that would need to be met first.”

He noted that the document was still very much on the cards, in-line with the AU conference in July 2016 and the target of borderless travel across the AU by 2063.

Tshwete also confirmed that despite rising xenophobic tensions this past week, the Department of Home Affairs was still very Afrocentric but there were real factors that needed to be considered such as those put in place by the EU.

“It was something we were always going to do. We have no intention to leave or change our obligations, we just want to do it in a constructive matter,” concluded Tshwete.

Report: Visa-free travel to the EU for South Africans still on the cards

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Plans for South Africa to share passport with 14 other countries