Malusi Gigaba, South African Home Affairs Minister, announced on 27 September that discussions were on to relax or eliminate visa requirements for South African nationals travelling to EU (European Union) member states.
Talks to this effect were said to have been held by Gigaba with Marcus Cornaro, the ambassador of the EU to South Africa.
Gigaba, speaking to the media in Pretoria, said that he expected the EU to reciprocate as South Africa had allowed them to travel visa-free to their country.
He was quoted by iol.co.za as saying that a decision was taken in 2015 by the Rainbow Nation to grant three-year multi-entry visas to people arriving in their country frequently.
Gigaba said that they did it because frequent visitors to South Africa spend their money in the country and they had not breached the laws of their country.
According to him, since they had not overstayed ever, such people must be able to receive the benefits, rewards and incentives for positively contributing to South Africa. He said that they expected the EU to act similarly.
Discussions also took place regarding work permits, making it easier for South Africans wanting to work in EU member states to travel and reside there for a certain period.
Their major priority was, however, to provide a complete visa waiver when they travel to Europe.
On the other hand, Cornaro said that the talks were productive and it was his responsibility to ensure these issues were put on the agenda in the contract entered into by the two parties. He said that it was his job as an envoy to convey it to EU member states.
Visa exemption would first start with officials, diplomats and students before it is extended to others.
The visa exemptions were expected to be obtained before the end of this year for officials, diplomats and students. March 2017 was said to be the timeframe for the rest of the country.