The South African government has repeatedly ignored official warnings from the United Kingdom to tighten up on issues of passport control. The following concerns were identified more than six months ago:
South Africa is used as a transit point for many illegal migrants who are bound for the UK.
South Africa's passport-issuing processes are subject to abuse.
Non-South Africans, with no entitlement to (a South African) passport, can obtain genuinely-issued SA passports through corrupt methods.
UK authorities have repeatedly warned the South African government to tackle this abuse and also some of the poor practices at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport that allow it to take place. Concerns were also raised that terrorists are exploiting the availability of stolen or forged South African passports. According to the British High Commission in Pretoria, SA passports have been one of the most abused passports detected at UK border posts.
Well it seems that the UK’s official warnings have either fallen on deaf ears, or the problem is of such a nature that it is simply beyond repair!
From 3 March 2009, South African passport holders will now require a visa in order to visit or transit the UK. However until mid-2009, South Africans who had previously travelled to the UK on their current passport would be exempt from the requirement.
The British High Commission said in a statement that the tightening of visa requirements was just one part of an ongoing exercise to "secure our borders". Judging from the list of countries (see below) that don’t require a Visa it would appear that the UK perceives the entire African continent as a risk factor, which indirectly implies that dark skinned (black) people are suspects. This reminds me of the old Apartheid Pass Laws that required all blacks to carry identification documents at all times, a control system hated and despised by everyone. To make a long story short, the “terrorists” are now running South Africa, hence the reason why the government is so slack on many issues, including passport control.
Although the statement by the British High Commission downplayed the issue of terrorism, listing it as only one of a number of factors that were weighed up in the decision, media have linked the move to fears that South Africa has become a transit point for al-Qaeda operatives to gain entry to Britain.
List of countries not requiring a Visa to the UK:
(Not a single country from the African continent is on the list).
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, which includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales.
Visitors from the United States and European Union countries are not required to have a visa to enter the UK. However, US and EU travelers to the UK merely need to show proof of return to their home country within 90 days of entrance to the UK. This proof could be as simple as the return ticket or travel itinerary from the airline.