Home Affairs failures may force tourists to leave SA by 29 February 2024

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
26 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA), under the reign of Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, continues to jump from one scandal to another, affecting the lives of millions of not only South Africans but international visitors as well, wreaking havoc with our tourism and ability to grow our economy.

The latest disaster the DHA finds itself in, is the never-ending backlog in processing visa applications, more specifically, short term visas. In fact, the Minister and his department’s incompetence has reached a new low on 21 December 2023, as they issued a directive which will require tourists – who are wishing to extend their stay in South Africa, to leave the country by 29 February 2024.

Tourists, when entering South Africa, can be issued with a 90-day visa, and subsequently apply for a 90-day extension if they wish to stay longer. South Africa stands to lose millions in lost revenue by not allowing them to extend their visas during the busiest season.

The DHA, under the leadership of Aaron Motsoaleadi, endlessly seems to be in a state of dysfunction which not only costs our economy but is leading to mounting court cases defended with taxpayer’s money. Even the State’s Attorney has issued warnings to the DHA on the rising litigation costs due to the backlogs. Just this year, the DHA was once again in court for the handling of the blocking of 700 000 ID documents, without any due process. The people with blocked ID’s were unable to open bank accounts, register to vote or obtain passports.

The solution to the backlog for the Department is simply to avoid dealing with it and remove the responsibility to process extensions.

The DA has written to the Minister of Home Affairs to request that he issue a new directive which will provide tourist who are in our country on a 90 day visa, awaiting the outcome of their extension, to be granted the right to remain until such a time that the backlog is resolved or on the basis of their date of departure (depending on which comes first). The DA will also ensure that the Minister is hauled before the Portfolio Committee of Home Affairs to explain his departments utter failure. As we head into the most crucial election since our democracy, the Minister’s failures cannot be a risk to South Africans who wish to execute their most basic of rights, which is the right to vote.