Relief for children travelling to SA

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

SOUTH Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has waived immigration requirements for unabridged birth certificates, affidavits and other supporting documents for foreign children to enter that country.

Zimbabweans, among other nationals, travelling to that country with children, were being turned back at ports of entry for not having unabridged birth certificates and affidavits authorising them to travel with the minors.

The requirements first came into force in 2015.

The South African immigration requirement for an unabridged birth certificate, which names the child’s mother and father, or the equivalent thereof from their country of origin was said to be a means to curb child trafficking across the neighbouring countries’ borders.

However, Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi, in a statement said the requirement had been waived by his ministry.

“This improvement in our admissions policy builds on the work the department has been doing to contribute to economic growth and investment.

“As of Friday, November 8, 2019, foreign children can enter and depart the country without being required to provide birth certificates, consent letters, and other supporting documents relating to proof of parentage,” Motsoaledi said.

“It is significant that we have completed the policy changes in the week in which President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted the second investment conference. We anticipate that this change will have a positive impact on tourism as we approach the holiday season.”

The requirement for birth certificates and affidavits was introduced at a time the neighbouring country was introducing a raft of strict measures to regulate the number of foreigners in that country.

Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals, who overstay in South Africa, are now banned for a period ranging from one to five years to enter the neighbouring country.

Over-stayers were all along allowed to re-enter South Africa and apply for permits and visas after being made to pay fines for the offence.

First-time and second-time offenders, who overstay for less than 30 days are banned for one and two years, respectively, while those that overstay for a period exceeding 30 days are banned for five years.

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