We’ve mentioned several times previously on here about the new draconian legislation requiring all children travelling in or out of SA to have unabridged birth certificates ready for examination, plus the ridiculous other rules about affidavits, letters of consent and even court orders (this one being one we unexpectedly stumbled over at immigration at CTIA last week) allowing one parent to take the children out of (or bring them into) South Africa . This, we were told, would prevent the 30,000 cases of child trafficking taking place in SA each year (a figure which AfricaCheck found was utter BS). Also, we were assured, this would have no effect on tourism, one of SA’s most important and healthy economic necessities. Tourism duly fell by 6% on the back of these new regulations.
Fortunately, while everyone else was looking the other way, (mainly in the direction of burning toilets and police vans) on Friday, the government did a huge u-turn and relaxed the rules around taking kids in an out of the country:
CAPE TOWN – Government has announced changes to the controversial visa regulations.
Tourism minister Derek Hanekom made the announcement at a Cabinet press conference earlier today.
Hanekom says the concessions will be made to limit the impact the current regulations have had on tourism and economic growth.
The minister says it will no longer be mandatory for inbound travellers from visa-exempt countries to carry unabridged birth certificates for children travelling with them. But it appears that unabridged birth certificates will still have to be presented by South African children leaving the country.
These changes are the result of government’s inter-ministerial committee.
And they are doing a few other things as well, which you can read more about here.
This is good news for the tourist industry, certainly, but it hasn’t helped my family out at all – as you read, the regulations stay firmly in place for us. In addition, I simply can’t believe that this ANC government has turned its back on 30,000 innocent trafficked children, just for the sake of a quick buck. Because that’s basically what’s happened, isn’t it? They told us that there were 30,000 kids being moved through SA each year, they stood by the figure, even when others tried to shout them down, and now they’re basically saying “Meh, f*** ’em”.
Maybe if I benefited in any way from these rule changes, I’d feel differently, but I just have to invoke Helen Lovejoy:
Won’t somebody please think of the children!
…because our beloved Government clearly no longer cares about them.