The many stories coming from the UK about travellers who were refused travel to South Africa or decided not to come have no value, says Home Affairs, as they see a tiny increase in numbers. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
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The Department of Home Affairs has said reports of UK-based travellers experiencing problems entering South Africa because of immigration regulations were “baseless and inaccurate”.
In a statement the department said negative reports had emerged due to distortion of facts: “We wish to categorically state that these reports are baseless and inaccurate, stemming largely from exaggeration and distortion of facts. The same goes for claims regarding families coming to our country.
“More travellers from the UK are coming to our shores. Our data systems for recording arrivals and departures at ports of entry show a notable increase of 3% for UK travellers to SA between 01 November and 23 December 2015.
“A total of 82 772 UK travellers had arrived in this period, in 2015, compared to 79 998 for the same period in 2014. Also for children, we experienced an increase in the number of arrivals for the 01 November 2015 to 23 December 2015 period, with 8 745 arrivals recorded, compared to 8 508 in 01 November 2014 to 23 December 2014 – an increase of 3%.”
The department added that it was “consistent in discussions” of the 2014 immigration regulations. “We have indicated that [we] welcome tourists and others to our country as tourism stimulates economic activity, assisting SA in realising the aims of the National Development Plan.
“Home Affairs wants what is best for the country as can be seen in concessions announced by Cabinet in October 2015 that had been made to attract critical skills and foreign students. But we cannot be reckless in any policy formulation and implementation, thus the need consciously to balance economic goals with security interests.”
It added that officials “continue to do the best that they can” during the festive period. “Improving traveller processing at ports of entry for enhanced client satisfaction is among the apex priorities of the department.”