Call to restore visa-free travel to UK

That’s the gist of a public drive in London, calling for an end to the pesky and costly travel requirement.

The Royal Commonwealth Society – an international educational charity – is two weeks away from launching a campaign to restore visa-free travel for South Africans.

The campaign, which is being supported by the South African Chamber of Commerce, has received the blessing of the Department of Home Affairs, which has itself been lobbying the British government to scrap visa requirements for South Africans.

Up until 2009 South Africans could travel visa-free to the UK, but concerns about fraudulent passports and South Africa being used by al-Qaeda as a transit point to enter Britain saw the British impose the visa system.

Recently New Zealand announced that South Africans would have to apply for visas because of the influx of travellers with fake passports.

Tim Hewish, the Royal Commonwealth Society’s director of policy and research, said: “The matter is for both governments to broker.

“Our goal is to show that the public want a decision sooner rather than later.

“We want to start this grassroots campaign where the 200,000 or so South Africans in the UK can sign up, as well as those South Africans back home who want to visit.”

The campaign will be launched on November 2.