South Africa is preparing to relax travel restrictions on citizens

JOHANNESBURG — The South African government has opened the prospect of allowing citizens to travel anywhere with their passports and will consider introducing air mail, land and sea travel without a visa, the foreign…

South Africa is preparing to relax travel restrictions on citizens

JOHANNESBURG — The South African government has opened the prospect of allowing citizens to travel anywhere with their passports and will consider introducing air mail, land and sea travel without a visa, the foreign minister said.

In a statement, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said options would be considered for improving mobility. She said the government would first create a domestic passport for all citizens of South Africa, instead of a well-known passport such as the one held by President Jacob Zuma.

“Our passports will have a distinguishable design. There are safety concerns regarding new passports, but these will also be addressed to ease biometric requirements,” she said.

Dlamini-Zuma also said South Africa was working with the International Civil Aviation Organization and would encourage flights between South Africa and the United States, the world’s largest economy. South Africa is linked to the United States through a long chain of air carriers that have thrived over the years.

“Our transportation route to the US remains open for business. Special consideration is given to airlines with a proven track record and that would also allow for the introduction of others,” she said.

South Africa follows a “block on entry” policy on visitors from countries where the polio virus is endemic. This results in a significant challenge for family and friends of patients with polio-affected children who have to travel to South Africa from countries with the polio virus.

Also, in 2018, Namibia lifted an overall travel ban on travelers from the border country of Angola and the border town of Lindela from neighboring South Africa.

Foreign Minister Nomvula Mokonyane in February 2017 said she was mulling removing the restriction on travel to Namibia and South Africa for those with legitimate business connections and humanitarian emergencies.

In July 2016, the United Nations said South Africa was easing its “block on entry” policy for visitors from countries where the polio virus is endemic. It said if the country’s travel ban is removed, residents from these countries could travel to Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Nauru.

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