According to the online newsportal Toursim Update, a total of 623 travellers were denied boarding during the holiday season between 9 December 2016 and 14 January 2017, by various airlines. While 1 222 minors were refused arrival at the country’s ports of entry, including airports and land borders. This is according to figures revealed by the Department of Home Affairs last week.

Passengers denied boarding

During this period included 225 South African Airways passengers, 126 Emirates passengers and 39 Turkish Airlines’ passengers were denied boarding. 496 foreign travellers were refused entry at OR Tambo International Airport in the same period.

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, responded

When asked about the reasons for entry being denied, Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, was vague, responding:

“You can already anticipate what were the reasons for the refusal of these minors to enter the country”.

Spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, Mayihlome Tshwete, added that while minors were refused for not meeting South Africa’s travel regulations, in the context of the statistics showing a total of 2 054 118 foreign arrivals, the compliance outweighs the refusals.

Gigaba noted that the major transgression for refusal was the failure to produce the required documents. For almost 2 years now, Home Affairs insist on child protection by requiring full birth certificates, stating the names of the parents. Should one of the parents not travel with the child, he or she needs to give permission in form of an affidavit. Many even experienced travellers get caught out by this requirement, which is unique to South Africa.

The damage to the South African tourism industry is massive as the airlines tend to err on the side of caution. This is also a massive administrative burden. We understand that many families, especially if there has been a divorce, simply do not consider South Africa as a holiday destination anymore.


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by Dirk Meissner