Noticias reports that Mozambique has withdrawn from an agreement extending the permitted period of stay in South Africa of citizens holding Mozambican passports or equivalent documents from 30 to 90 days, considering that the conditions attached are unfavourable.
The agreement should have entered into force on 19 April 2017 but, because of interpretation issues, the two countries never reached an agreement on practical aspects of implementation.
According to Ester Tondo, Mozambique Consul in Nelspruit, the government of South Africa interpreted the 90 days (three months) as the annual limit on travelers’ rights to stay in South Africa. Once the 90 days had been used up, the traveler would not have any right to return to South Africa until the following year.
Mozambique, for its part, interpreted the measure as a possibility for the traveler to enter South Africa as many times as he or she wished without any limitation. In the absence of consensus in the interpretation of the agreement, Mozambique decided to withdraw.
“We are better off with the 30 days waiver and we will not trigger the 90 days because it is disadvantageous for our compatriots. For every time the Mozambican enters South Africa, his days are going down, and when he completes the 90 days, wanting to continue to travel to this country, no matter the purpose, he would have to apply for a visa. With the 30-day visa waiver, the traveler will continue to visit South Africa as many times as he wants each year and without any constraints,” Tondo explained.
The extension from 30 to 90 days of stay was to have covered areas such as tourism, family visits, medical consultations, business, conferences, seminars, workshops, student and sports exchanges. Citizens who moved to reside or work in the co-signing country would not have been covered by the measure.
Mozambique and South Africa mutually exempted travelers staying for a maximum of 30 days per entry from having to acquire visas in 2005.