Fraudulent SA Passports Prompt UK Security Fears and Plan to Introduce Visas

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BYLINE: NATASHA JOSEPH

SOUTH AFRICA's passport-issuing processes "can be subject to abuse", says the British High Commission in Pretoria, and this may result in all South Africans having to apply for visas to enter the United Kingdom within the next year.

The British government announced earlier this month that 11 nations, including South Africa, could be added to the list of more than 100 countries whose nationals are required to apply for visas.

The Home Office said at the time that all non-European countries were reviewed to measure the level of risk they posed to the UK.

South Africa, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela must "significantly reduce the risk they pose to the UK" by the end of this year if they are to avoid a more rigorous visa application process, the Home Office said earlier this month.

British High Commission spokesperson Apsara McNaught said yesterday that South Africa was on the list for a possible "visa regime" for "a number of reasons".

"We are aware that South Africa's passport issuing process can be subject to abuse," McNaught said.

She said there was "clear evidence that non-South Africans, with no entitlement to (a South African) passport, can obtain genuinely-issued South African passports through corrupt methods". …