South Africa’s Travel Industry, represented by the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), is reiterating its call for an urgent repeal of the country’s onerous Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) requirements for South African citizens and a thorough consultation process with industry to develop requirements that balance the need for security with economic growth delivered through travel and tourism.
This follows the recent gazetting of amended immigration regulations which uphold the requirement for South African families to produce an Unabridged Birth Certificate unless the child’s passport includes the details of both parents of the child and both parents are travelling with the child.
Although the South African government has started to roll out a new child passport which will include the parents’ details, this appears to be inconsistently applied and is not an adequate solution, says De Vries.
“In our modern South African society, there are many different types of families with single-parent families no longer a rare exception. As it stands, both parents will be required to be present when applying for a child’s passport and when the child travel. This is not realistic.”
According to de Vries, the controversial requirement for travelling families has stifled outbound tourism as it is making it difficult for local families to travel internationally.
“We need to repeal the regulations and initiate discussions between public and private sector so we can try to understand the concerns of government around safety and security, while also looking at the needs of the travel and tourism sector. This is the only way we’re going to be able to build a meaningful policy from the ground up, remove the current confusion and stimulate outbound family travel.”