President Museveni has said it is important that the government of South Africa addresses the issue bureacraccy and unnecessary restrictions that Ugandans seeking South African Visas are subjected to.
President Yoweri Museveni said “Ugandans should get visas on entry in South Africa just as we do with them here”.
This was in a series of tweets on Monday after he received the Gold Award that Uganda won at the Indaba Tourism Fair in Durban, South Africa.
It is the third time Uganda scores highly at the world’s third most important tourism exhibition. The award was presented to the President by the Minister of Tourism, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu who attended the Indaba travel fair that closed on Saturday last week.
“I also received a goodwill message from His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, who has taken interest in resolving the unnecessary bureaucracy Ugandans are subjected to when seeking South African visas,” Museveni said.
Museveni congratulated and the team that represented Uganda at Indaba “that showcased to the world the exceptional natural resource endowments for tourist attraction in the Pearl of Africa”.
The issue of red tape in acquisition of South African Visas has been a major concern for many Ugandans for a long time. Government officials, the business community as well as ordinary Ugandans traveling to South Africa have raised concern over it in the past but there has been no progress made to sort it out.
The most recent incident occurred last week when a group of Ugandan tour operators were denied Visas. They were seeking to travel to Durban, South Africa to attend the annual Indaba travel expo.
However, the debate was amplfied after prominent tourism enthusiast, and proprietor of Great Lakes Safaris, Amos Wekesa posted on his Facebook expressing anger towards the South African High Commission in Uganda for the red tape.
He said it was an economic sabotage by South Africa which continues to reap big from Uganda through S.African companies doing business in Uganda yet the same is not true for Uganda.
He proposed that government of Uganda places the same stringent conditions on South Africans traveling to Uganda.
“How can people be making over USD 600m every year, and you are giving them softer conditions? No! Whatever conditions they give us, the government should do the same because they benefit more than we benefit from them”.