I was amazed after reading an article in the Sunday Times headlined UK visas to cost South Africans R1000 . This surely is not a good sign for South Africans as South Africans are now being made to look like criminals. The reason the UK is now insisting on South Africans to have visas is because they say there are too many ‘fake’ South African passports being given out by the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa. The term ‘fake’ is not too correct to use in the context as the passports being issued out are genuine in the sense that they are legitimate but the owners of the passports would probably have paid to have these passports made for them. A foreign national in South Africa could find someone who works in the Department of Home Affairs or someone who has an inside link and pay them x amount of rands and have a genuine South African passport made for them which they can then use to travel around the world as they please.
Now the UK government has seen that this is happening and tend to think it is now become a regular occurrence and thus they have decided to try stem the flow of South Africans into the UK. I say ‘try’ because I do not think that this move to charge people R1000 for a UK visa will actually stop the people they do not want to enter the UK from entering. If I really wanted to get into the UK and I had bought my passport, what is stopping me from raising an additional R1000 to enter the UK? For someone really wanting to get into the UK for one reason or the other, R1000 is not a lot of money.
The only way to deal with this situation is to stop what is happening at Home Affairs in South Africa. Far too many documents are easily accessible in South Africa if one has the money, be it ID cards, drivers licenses, university degrees or passports. There is a lot of work that needs to be done at the Department of Home Affairs, it has to be one of the most inefficient departments in the country today. It can take months for one to get what they want from the department or some even years. If the right systems are put in place, this should be a department that runs smoothly and effectively as it plays such an important part in any country both for locals and foreigners.
So I say to the UK, nice try for imposing the R1000 for the UK visa for South Africans but it really will not help a great deal and it will just be inconveniencing the 250 000 tourists to the UK every year. The problem lies at the root which is the Department of Home Affairs. Once that is sorted out then hopefully all will be okay.