Tourists can still apply for visa extensions: De Lille

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The Tourism Department says they are working with the Home Affairs Department to allow tourists to stay longer in the country.

This comes as the tourism industry has reiterated concerns about a memo from Home Affairs stating tourists who haven’t received a visa renewal by next week must start preparing to leave the country.

​Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille says there was confusion with the memo and tourists can still apply for visa extensions that will allow them to stay longer.

De Lille says, “The mandate for visas is with the Department of Home Affairs, so I have engaged with Minister Motsoaledi and the minister confirmed with me that the memo that was issued on the 21st of December for tourists to leave by the end of February was an internal memo and it was meant for BMA (Border Management Authority) officials at the border. So the current position is that all the tourists that have applied for visa extension, if they are in a possession of a receipt that they have applied, it’s not applicable to them.”

The full interview with De Lille on SAfm’s Sunrise programme:

CEO of the South African Tourism Association, David Frost, says the minister could have acted on this matter sooner.

“I do think we need to just pause and reflect on the lessons here, this story broke firstly by Daily Maverick and there was quite an extensive article.What would have been really useful is if the Minister had responded immediately and clarified that so that tourists in the country can get that message and make decisions, because holidays is planning and it needs a level of certainty.”