The South African Consul-General in Nigeria, Mr Darkey Africa has disclosed that the embassy approved 17, 914 visa applications from Nigerians seeking to travel to the south African country in 6 months while it rejected 5,078 applications.
Speaking at a media Roundtable on “Barriers to Travel-How that could be addressed” with stakeholders in the travel, tourism and business sector in Lagos, he said the embassy received 27, 142 visa applications from Lagos and Abuja in October 2018 to March 2019 and approved 17, 914 while it rejected 5,078 applications.
According to him, the embassy received 21,564 visa applications from Lagos in the period under review and approved 14, 564 while it rejected 3,714 applications.
The Consul-General further disclosed that 5,578 visa applications was received from the country’s capital, Abuja, and approved 3,350 while it rejected 1,364 applications under the same period.
The Consul-General stated that the aim of the forum was to present the commitment of the South African government has made to achieve its national outcomes and plans, to present the vision of the Home Affairs and the strategies it is implementing to achieve its goals and to confirm visa duration for certain categories of Travellers.
He added that the government of South Africa is putting measures in place to ensure that visa applications received by the embassy are treated with utmost urgency.
He stated that one of the objective of the meeting was to engage with the stakeholders with a view to understand the challenges being faced in getting the South Africa visa by Nigerian travellers and also to look at ways the these issues can be addressed.
Mr Darkey who highlighted some of the reason why some visa applications are rejected stated that they could be due to falsified bank statement, falsified invitation letters, invitation letters from fictitious companies, and falsified invitation letters from existing SA companies with a false statement that they have been invited for meetings.
He listed others to include: falsified South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), letters from applicants claiming to be having critical skills required in South Africa, Falsified medical cover letters for study visas, falsified acceptance letters from institutions of higher learning and falsified offers of employment.
He stated the one of the focus of the department is to ensure the that its modernized to meet the growing needs of travellers seeking visa to South Africa an adding that this will be achieved soon.
He stated that a lot of things are being put in place to simplify the visa process, adding one of them is that travellers with diplomatic passport do not require visa.
He stated that long term visa consideration are being given to people that fall within the Academics, Frequent travellers, and business executive.
Stakeholders at meeting urged the consulate to take urgent steps in addressing the challenges being experienced in the visa process.
Highlighting some the challenges, some of the stakeholders averred it is not a good idea for the to withhold applicants passports for a longer period than necessary, which often inhibit them from making other travelling arrangements.
Others added that the process of requesting for bank statements should be automated by the consulate, stating that it some printed documents could be too bulky to carry to the Consulate.