The delay in implementing two of the new immigration regulations on travelling minors was welcomed on Tuesday.
The portfolio committee on home affairs said the postponement will enable the department of home affairs to “fine-tune” their processes.
“This will ensure that those citizens who have already made travel arrangements for the upcoming festive season holidays will not be inconvenienced,” committee chairman Lemias Mashile said in a statement.
“The committee is of the view that the delay in implementing these requirements attests to a caring government that accommodates the needs of its people.”
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday announced that the implementation of two of the new immigration regulations on travelling minors will again be delayed until June 1, 2015.
This refers to the requirements that children be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate and have written permission from both parents or guardians authorising the child’s travel.
The regulations had been due to take effect on July 1 but sparked widespread complaint, with parents protesting that it could take up to a year to obtain an unabridged birth certificate from the department.
The department then granted a three-month reprieve and set October 1 as the new implementation date.
Mashile said the postponement would ensure that the department issue the required unabridged certificates within the specified time frames.
He said it was a clear that Gigaba and his department were willing to “clear any impediments” in the implementation of the regulations.
“This attitude will go a long way in allaying the fears of many on the intentions of the regulations,” he said.
“The Committee is still convinced that these regulations are necessary to close loopholes in the Immigration and Refugee Acts and are also a necessary precaution against heightened security challenges all over the world.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also welcomed the postponement.
Vice president Raphael Kuuchi said the IATA supported South Africa in its efforts to tackle child trafficking.
“We are also grateful for Minister Gigaba’s receptive approach to the concerns that we have raised about the practical implementation of some of the new immigration requirements,” he said in a statement.
“We look forward to working with the minister’s special task team in identifying international best practices and developing effective and pragmatic methods to implement the requirements.”
In March 2013, the home affairs department began issuing unabridged certificates on the spot for all children at birth registration. SAPA