South African visa system to be overhauled to boost tourism and investment

The South African government has committed to a "complete overhaul" of the visa system to support the tourism sector.

Communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane said during a post-cabinet media briefing on Thursday that the visa regime was in the immediate control of government‚ which was being addressed by an interministerial committee.

The visa regime had to be much clearer to be an enabler for investment‚ while not compromising the security of the country and vulnerable groups.

Stumbling blocks‚ for instance those regarding the admission of scarce skills‚ had to be removed.

The minister said a number of "inhibiting factors" had been identified in the visa regimen‚ such as rules dealing with children‚ scarce skills and turnaround times.

The overhaul of the visa regime‚ finalisation of key mining legislation to support the mining sector‚ and stabilisation of state-owned enterprises were among the measures that had to be taken to address the slowdown in economic growth.

South Africa has entered a recession‚ with the economy contracting 0.7% in the second quarter‚ after a revised 2.6% decline in the first quarter.

"The rising volatility in global markets and the GDP outcome require that government accelerates efforts to unblock constraints to economic growth‚ while providing support to vulnerable groups‚" Mokonyane said.

"Economic growth has slowed down significantly over the last four years. This reflects factors such as drought conditions in the agricultural sector and low commodity prices‚ but also domestic structural constraints which have discouraged investment and employment creation.

"The upcoming job and investment summits‚ as well as the proposed government stimulus package‚ will provide details on reforms needed to drive growth‚" Mokonyane said.

The stimulus package would be presented "in a short period of time"‚ the minister said.

The government was addressing the costing of the measures to be implemented.

She said the cabinet had affirmed government’s commitment to fiscal sustainability.

A revised fiscal framework will be presented by finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in the October medium-term budget policy statement.

Source: TimesLive