South African Foreign Minister expresses hope for issuance of visas to Rwandans in the near future

On 4 October 2023 at 11:10

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has expressed optimism about finding a solution to the issues that have strained relations between South Africa and Rwanda, including the suspension of visas for Rwandans.

The disclosure was made during an interview with IGIHE on the sidelines of a 3-day retreat for foreign ministers of African Union member countries in Kigali where Pandor stated that this matter could be resolved before the end of 2023.

It has been nine years since South Africa suspended visa issuance to Rwandans traveling with ordinary passports. During this period, individuals were required to obtain diplomatic or service passports to enter South Africa. This decision led to mutual expulsions of diplomats, with three Rwandan representatives sent back from Pretoria and Rwanda reciprocating by expelling six South African diplomats from Kigali.

The tensions stemmed from Rwanda accusing South Africa of supporting subversive activities on its territory, which had resulted in attacks. In return, South Africa had accused Rwandan diplomats of involvement in an attack on the residence of Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Despite numerous summit discussions on this issue, a compromise had remained elusive. While the South African President had hinted at a resolution during his recent visit to Rwanda, years had passed without tangible progress. In her interview with IGIHE, Pandor assessed the progress of negotiations on this matter as a 6 out of 10.

“We are addressing it. We have been having good discussions between our two countries’ ministries of foreign affairs and I believe the matter will be resolved very soon. We did have these problems just before Covid-19 and it interfered with the work already done. I believe we will resolve it,” she said.

“We are having very good discussions, minister Biruta and myself, and I think between the two of us and our ministers responsible for immigration, we will find a solution,” added Pandor.

She also discussed the presence of Rwandan forces in Mozambique, emphasizing their close coordination with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the initial stages of their mission.

South African Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor has expressed hope for issuance of visas to Rwandans in the near future.