In what seems like a deliberate move to build stronger relationship with Nigeria, the Tourism Minister of South Africa, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, was in Nigeria recently, where he interacted with not only the counry’s Minister of Information And Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, but aslo South African Tourism tour operators, media and broad stakeholders at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Kubayi-Ngubane served briefly as the Minister of Communications in 2017 up until February 2018, when she was announced as Minister of Science and Technology. Following the May 2019 elections, she was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa as the Minister of Tourism.
The minister’s visit to Nigeria was an opportunity to meet with the stakeholders to share whatever issues they might be facing with the hope of finding lasting solutions to some challenges and also discuss the increase of international tourist arrivals to South Africa.
The programme of the day was directed by the Deputy High Commissioner of South Africa, Bobby Monroe, who appreciated guests for taking out time to welcome the visiting Minister of Tourism. He observed that the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria’s’s government has strengthened since President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to South Africa to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa, where both leaders discussed political cooperation and trade. The visit also afforded president Buhari the opportunity to meet with members of the Nigerian business community and also took part in a Nigerian-South African business forum.
Adressing the gathering, the minister obesreved that there was a great need to advance bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa in the creative industry to achieve remarkable success for the two nations and the African continent.
She, however, regretted the tensions experienced in the last couple of months, acknowledging that such attacks had happened in the past and the authorities had taken steps to ensure it was not repeated.
“I want you all to know that South Africa is open for visitors from Nigeria and other parts of the world as against insinuations by many that the country is repelling visitors,” she said
Considering Nigeria as one of South Africa’s biggest market after China and India, Kubayi-Ngubane positioned South Africa as a destination of choice for West Africans, who would like to travel for business, leisure and other related activities.
According to her, Nigeria is an important source market to South Africa as it ranks as one of the top three countries after India and China, she also made mention that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given a directive to the tourism ministry to woo in a bid to double domestic arrivals to over 21million by 2030
“South Africa is committed to strengthening partnerships and driving collaborations that will help forge a stronger cultural exchange between the people of these two West African (Ghana and Nigeria) countries and the people of South Africa that’s why from the first quarter of 2020, people intending to travel to South Africa can apply for a visa online.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this means that anyone who needs a visa to come to South Africa will be able to do that from the comfort of their homes, apply online and within a few days you get your visa approved,’’ said the minister, Kubayi-Ngubane.
The tourism minister also quashed the news making the rounds that South Africans aren’t welcoming to foreigners especially Nigerians and don’t want them in their country.
“It is not true that South Africans don’t want Nigerians in South Africa; we have ties across Ghana and South Africa. South Africa remains open for visitors, so please visit us,” she assured.
In his remarks, South Africa’s Consul General in Lagos, Mr Darkey Africa said that South Africa is committed to reuniting both nations through a proper exploration of the tourism industry as Nigeria and South Africa must work in purpose to achieve remarkable growth.
“We want to see movies where Nigerians and South Africans will collaborate to produce, speaking in their unique and distinct accents to tell the world that we have greater things for the future of the two countries and Africa,” Darkey said.