Home South African Home Affairs alarmed by Afrikaans UK travel test

Home Affairs alarmed by Afrikaans UK travel test

181

UK-bound travellers who were unable to complete the test will be refused travel, according to the airliner.

Ryanair airlines check-in terminal. File picture: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

THE DEPARTMENT of Home Affairs described the decision by Irish low-cost airline Ryanair to force South Africans travelling to the UK to take a test in Afrikaans as a backward profiling system.

UK-bound travellers who were unable to complete the test will be refused travel, according to the airliner.

This was done “due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports, we require passengers travelling to the UK to fill out a simple questionnaire issued in Afrikaans. If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused travel and issued with a full refund,” a spokesperson for the airline reportedly said.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaled’s spokesperson Siya Qoza said the requirement was not the official position of the UK government.

Siya Qoza

“We are taken aback by the decision of this airline because the Department regularly communicates with all airlines to update them on how to validate South African passports, including the look and feel. In addition to this, airlines have access to the Advanced Passenger Processing system which enables them to screen travellers before they depart. The Department also runs a 24-hour Operations Centre which airlines can use if they want to authenticate South African passports. It is not clear to which extent the airline has used these services before resorting to this backward profiling system,” he said.

Passports issued under fraudulent circumstances are traced, flagged as fraudulent and removed from records, he said.

“The Department has a Counter Corruption Branch which works with other law enforcement officers to bring to book all those found to be corrupting the system. As a result, culprits are identified, arrested and taken through Departmental disciplinary processes. Some officials have already been dismissed following their disciplinary processes,” he said.

It was deeply concerning that in the 11 official languages one language was singled out by a foreign carrier to test a nationality, said Afrikanerbond chief secretary Jan Bosman.

“It is a pity that Afrikaans is again used as a tool. Do they do this for other countries and their languages and cultures as well? Although we understand the international concerns about false passports there must be appreciation for sensitivity and emotions about Afrikaans. Many organisations are working hard to improve trust. This method by Ryanair is not helping us,” said Bosman.

Cape Times

Previous articleEducation dept places Kakamas High School under administration
Next articleSIU uncovers scam using dead people’s ID renew licences