Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba announced amendments to the existing visa regime on Tuesday. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The chairperson of the portfolio committee on home affairs, Hlomani Chauke, on Wednesday welcomed the broad visa-related reforms announced by the minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba.

Gigaba on Tuesday announced the amendments to visa requirements for business people from two BRICS countries, India and China, that require visas. They will soon be eligible for a 10-year multiple-entry visa, with only five days needed for an application.

The new arrangement also makes provision for Home Affairs to take biometrics for those eligible on arrival in South Africa. The reforms are aimed at boosting tourism and implementing various visa modifications, to enable ease of travel for business people and to attract much-needed investment.

The parliamentary committee also welcomed moves to increase the list of African countries that do not require visas to visit South Africa, saying that this move has the potential to enhance intra-Africa trade and will give impetus to the Africa Free Trade Agreement, recently signed by South Africa. 

While the committee acknowledged the need for visa reform, it has also emphasised the need for immigration reforms that achieve a balance between security, international obligations and economic growth.

After the recess, the committee will convene a meeting with the department aimed at getting a full briefing on the reforms and how they will be implemented and to ensure that the committee is adequately equipped to do oversight on the implementation.  

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African News Agency (ANA)