By Kunle Adedoyin
Nigeria was not listed among the seven countries recently granted visa free entry by South Africa.
This addition follows the country’s new e-visa system which will be launched in November.
Aaron Motsoaladi, South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, in a statement on Thursday, said the development will boost tourism and contribute to the economy of the country.
“We do this by making life easier for our sister departments such as tourism to boast their tourism figures,” he said.
“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that Tourism is very important for job creation.
“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are on our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.
“Today, we wish to announce an addition to our visa-free countries. These are: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe.
“We will immediately enter into discussions with them about how a visa-free regime will work. We still have some homework to do for 3 countries whose combined populations make up close to 30% of the world’s population i.e. China, India and Nigeria.”
Motsoaladi said while they are busy tackling the matter, they will increase two times the number of people who process visas to South Africa in Nigeria.
He said the e-visa system will advance deployment of immigration as a tool for economic development outlined in the national development plan (NDP).
The minister added that they will deliver the visa regime for tourism and high skill immigration.
“E-visa will make it easier for tourists to visit, and for companies to acquire employees with critical skills. It will be an online application with a risk-based adjudication and issuance of your visa electronically as opposed to a hard copy. On receiving the electronic message by email, you just continue straight to your airport and head on to South Africa,” he said.
In 2016, the South African government announced its decision to commence the issuance of five-year visas to Nigerian professionals, business people and other frequent fliers.