Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba announced amendments to the existing visa regime on Tuesday. File Photo: ANA

JOHANNESBURG – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has moved to relax regulations on travel, reviewing his previous visa requirement regime to dovetail with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new growth path.

Gigaba, who was heavily criticised for imposed stringent regulations in 2016, yesterday said new rules would enable tourists, business and investors eased access into the country to sustain economic activity generated by these travellers.

He said while the country would still guard against risks posed by some travellers, simplified regulations would attract more visitors to South Africa.

He said the department would also review rules on travelling minors who were foreign nationals, adding that the changes had the potential to boost tourism and make business travel easier.

“Easing movement in this manner will help in attracting larger numbers of tourists, business people and families,” Gigaba said.

“They will contribute to the (economic) stimulus and recovery plan the president announced and go a long way in improving the lives of our people.”

Last week, Ramaphosa said reforms to the visa regime had the potential to boost tourism and make business travel a lot more attractive, and help unlock greater investment in important growth sectors.

Gigaba said that immigration officials would only insist on documentation in high-risk situations rather than for all travellers, in line with the practice adopted by several other countries.

He said travellers would be given an opportunity to prove parental consent or relations with the child.

However, South African minors would still be required to prove parental consent when leaving South Africa as required by the Children’s Act.

Gigaba said the changes would be implemented before the festive rush when many visitors would be travelling with children.