CAPE TOWN, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- South Africa will implement visa waivers for citizens of Ghana, Cuba, and Sao Tome and Principe, to promote tourism, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Thursday.
Motsoaledi said his department is scheduled to complete negotiations with these countries by the end of August and that the implementation will follow soon thereafter.
Earlier this year, South Africa announced visa waivers for citizens of New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Starting from Thursday, travellers from these four countries will no longer require a visa to visit South Africa for holidays, conferencing and business.
"We took this decision unilaterally but we are engaging these countries to see how they can relax entry requirements for our citizens," Motsoaledi said. "I am glad to say that Qatar has already waived visa requirements for South Africans and this will enable our people to attend Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 easier."
The Department of Home Affairs is continuously reviewing its operations to contribute to economic growth, facilitate the creation of jobs and secure the borders, the minister said.
"We are constantly reviewing our operations to ensure that we relax entry requirements without compromising our responsibility towards the safety and security of our citizens," Motsoaledi said.
Already, South Africa has waived visa requirement for citizens of 82 of the 193 countries who are members of the United Nations, including 18 African countries.
The majority of countries whose citizens can visit South Africa visa-free are among the major tourist source nations, the minister said.
"The department has already sent directives to ports of entry, airlines and our missions abroad informing them of the removal of visa requirements for nationals of these countries who wish to visit our beautiful country for tourism of business meetings," Motsoaledi said.