In the National Council of Provinces, the National Department of Home Affairs has revealed that of the 6 329 e-visas it rejected, 3 687 (58%) were rejected as a result of the date of travel already having passed. To put it simply, they weren’t processed in time.
This follows an earlier revelation by the same Department that, at that time, only 48.7% of all e-visa applications received had been processed. It was further revealed that of those that had been processed, only 3.2% of the total received had been granted.
E-visas are intended provide a convenient option for visitors to make their visa applications online, instead of having to visit a South African Mission. 14 countries are eligible for e-visa applications: Cameroon, China, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda.
It is deeply concerning that inefficiencies in our e-visa regime continue to add a barrier to our tourism recovery, and our drive to increase connectivity within the African continent and attract more African tourists to our destination. This should be fully enabled by our visa regime, and not restricted, as is currently the case.
While the recent commitments from President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the serious issues with the visa system are welcomed, words no longer count. Decisive action is required along with timelines to address the well-known challenges.
The Western Cape Government has stated their readiness to assist in any way possible to grow the tourism economy and create many more jobs for citizens.