Ugandans transiting through South Africa are now exempt from applying for transit visas.
This will save each $36 dollars (Shs123, 569).
South Africa’s High Commissioner to Uganda Professor Major General (retired) Lekoa Solly Mollo attributed the exemption to the “special relationship” between his country and Uganda, among other countries.
About 3, 000 African National Congress’s Umkonto we Siswe (Spear of the Nation) fighters had their training in Nakaseke District in central Uganda between 1984 and 1994. They have since left Uganda.
After they left, South Africa gave Uganda $3 million (Shs10.2 billion) to construct modern structures at the Oliver Tambo Leadership School at Kaweweta in Nakaseke.
During a telephone interview on Sunday, January 10, Prof. Mollo said transiting travellers who might want to leave the precincts of the South African airports would have to pay for visitors visas.
“If you want to leave Oliver Tambo International Airport to go to Johannesburg to see some friends and spend the night, you will need to apply for a visitor’s visa,” Prof. Mollo said.
A visitor’s visa costs about $26 (Sh89, 244).
Ugandans travelling to other South African countries like Zambia and Malawi usually make connecting flights in South Africa.
It is those who use, say, Kenya Airways, who fly direct to those other countries.
According to some accounts, the scrapping of the transit visas for travellers connecting through South Africa is the culmination of the presentations made by the various South Africa’s envoy who have been posted here.
It was not lost to the different envoys that many of the people who transit through South Africa would use South African Airways, which meant business for its national carrier.
But some business travellers had already started toying with connecting to the other southern African countries using Kenya Airways – despite its equally costly air tickets and more recently, its financial woes.