On 21st November New Zealand removed the waiver for South African citizens to enter from previously being visa exempt.
They have provided many reasons for doing so. They stated that they had on record many South African citizens who overstayed there 90 day exemption, apparently many were denied access due to fraudelent documentation and many used the exemption simply to visit loved ones and were not considered to be contributing enough to business or tourist ventures in the country.
It is within this light that South Africa has now reciprocated by withdrawing New Zealanders the right to enter the Republic without possessing a valid visitor’s visa. This is to come into affect from the 16th January 2017. Although the process of reciprocation is seen as a standard response, Gigaba assures us that he would not make such decisions without considering the ramifications with our international counterparts. He also expressed that the process will still be affordable and merely just a formality to ensure South Africa’s national interest remains paramount.
It has been evident that there have been quite a few restrictions placed on South African citizens of late, the UK for example also implementing such restrictions where as before, we too were granted visa exemption. Another concern is that the High Commission is based in Wellington, quite a distance from the general population. To now have to travel to the embassy just for a visitor’s visa will be a hindrance for most. This will more than likely have an adverse effect on South African tourism from this part.
Gibaba also made mention of the fact the South African’s should not pose a threat, especially with the improved security systems added to SA passport holders as well as the new biometrics systems put in place, taking electronic fingerprint scans to be kept on record and to pick up any suspicious activity.
Even though New Zealand may have a valid point one could argue that there could have been a better solution to strengthen their internal immigration laws without having to restrict South African citizens from being visa exempt. I suppose there could be valid arguments supporting either view points. As with most things only time will tell if this will hurt us in the long run or not.