UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has requested that the UK drop its strict restrictions around South African travellers.
In a statement published this week, Holomisa said that these restrictions are in place due to security concerns.
However, he noted that South Africa is still committed to freely welcome UK travellers and business-people to the country without requiring visas.
“Rightly or wrongly, there seem to have been a taint of distrust of South Africans that arose around 2008/9.
“Much has changed since then, and one would argue that the time has come for the British and South African governments to reassess, and to alleviate a situation that by design unfairly penalises South Africans and virtually, still brands us (as a nation) as potential terrorists.
“The United Democratic Movement calls upon the South African government to sit down with their British counterparts to re-evaluate and to ascertain whether the reasons for their decision still stand.”
Holomisa also requested that the British government publish the details on where these security concerns still exist.
These issues have been echoed by Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who said that South Africans should be given visa-free access to the UK after tightening up security around its passport.
In an October interview, Motsoaledi said that while South African citizens were previously allowed to enter the UK visa-free, this access was revoked after a number of fraudulent incidents.
“Unfortunately something happened some years back where other nationals forged our passports,” he said.
“Since that time we have improved (South Africa’s passport’s security) and we think the UK must now reconsider allowing visa-free access.”
Motsoaledi added that the department of home affairs is working with a number of foreign governments to allow for visa-free access but this does not guarantee reciprocal access for South Africans.
He said that this reciprocity was dependent on a number of factors and was not a ‘straight-line equation’.
“There are a number of considerations when giving a visa. Firstly you consider the sovereignty and security of the (applicant’s) country. Secondly, you consider the developmental needs of your own country.
“Lastly you have to consider the stability and security of people within your own country. You might find that you need people from a country but they don’t need you – you can then insist on reciprocation.”