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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

UK shuts doors on SAns


from I Luv SA blog

Notice how it is "us" when the ANC regime wants to apportion blame for the woeful state of affairs (pardon pun) that is Home Affairs, that has allowed the South African passport to become devalued even though "us" whiteys are prevented through affirmative action policies from seeking employment in Home Affairs.

Consider also that most visitors to the UK are white and through no doing of theirs, will be taking the brunt of the new restrictions. No sirree, this monumental bitch slap in the face from the UK is all your doing ANC.

"All of us should take responsibility" - Minister of Home Affairs Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Britain has imposed a visa requirement on South Africans wishing to visit that country, Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced in the National Assembly on Monday.

"I received formal communication from the UK government today [Monday]... informing me that... they have now decided to introduce a visa requirement for South African citizens," she told MPs, interrupting debate in the House on last week's State of the Nation address.
The imposition of a visa requirement is set to affect over 400,000 South Africans who visit the United Kingdom each year as tourists, on business, or in transit.

Mapisa-Nqakula said according to the communication she received from the British government, it had taken the decision "based on its concerns regarding the ease with which non-South Africans can acquire genuine SA travel documents" and use them to travel to the UK.

The South African government had accepted the decision. (like you had a choice)

"The South African government has accepted this decision and respects the prerogative of the UK government to take such a sovereign decision," she said.

Following her announcement, there was a shout of "It's an indictment!" from the opposition benches in the House. Mapisa-Nqakula replied: "It is an indictment, and I think... all of us should take responsibility for that."

The move to impose the visa requirement, to be implemented in stages from March, follows an official UK warning to the South African government six months ago to tighten up on issues including control of passports.

"Abuse of the South African passport remains a serious concern," the British High Commission in Pretoria said in a statement earlier on Monday afternoon.

"It has been one of the most abused passports detected at UK border posts."

It said South Africans featured "prominently" among passengers being refused entry on arrival in the UK.

In the last two years there had also been a significant increase in the number of South Africans working illegally or overstaying their leave to remain in the UK.

The commission said that from March 3, South African passport holders would require a visa in order to visit or transit the UK.

However until mid-2009, South Africans who had previously travelled to the UK on their current passport would be exempt from the requirement.

Visas are currently required only for other categories of entrants, including students and people working in the UK.

High Commissioner Paul Boateng said the new requirement was in no way a reflection of any deterioration in the UK's strong relationship with South Africa. (yeah riiight...)

"We are committed to continuing to welcome South Africans travelling for legitimate reasons to the UK," he said.

The commission said in the statement that the tightening of visa requirements was just one part of an ongoing exercise to "secure our borders".

Biometric capture of information, already in operation, would deter many of those who sought to enter the UK under an assumed identity or on fraudulently obtained South African documents.

South Africans would join the nearly 75 percent of the world's population who had to get visas for the UK, it said.

Although the statement downplayed the issue of terrorism, listing it as only one of a number of factors that were weighed up in the visa decision, media have linked the move to fears that South Africa has become a transit point for al-Qaeda operatives to gain entry to Britain.

Associated Press' London office on Monday quoted unnamed "security officials" as saying South Africa had become a new base for terrorist activity.

However Peter Gastrow, of the SA Institute for Security Studies, said these claims should be treated with great circumspection.

"It may or may not be correct, but I think we ought to be skeptical about it until they give us more reliable information," he said.

"The problem that one has with information which originates from real or imagined security agencies is there's hardly any member of the public who can assess the veracity of this claim.

"If we are told that the man from the moon is using South Africa as a springboard, how is it possible to assess this?"

Gastrow said he was always highly suspicious of such claims, and in the absence of supporting evidence, they had to be questioned.

Noting that there had been a general hardening of attitudes towards migration in the United Kingdom and some other European countries, he said the motive behind the visa move could well be purely political.

The action against South African visitors could be a way of defusing this pressure. Asked whether South Africa would retaliate with visa requirements for Britons, foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said there was "no such decision by government".

He also said he was unaware of any directive by government to foreign affairs to protest the move. In 2007, 419,000 South Africans travelled to the UK legally, including 168,000 tourists and 46,200 business visitors. They are the fifth largest group of visitors to Britain behind those from the USA, Australia, Canada and Japan.

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