06 February 2019
Home Affairs Minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele and the Ambassador of Mali to South Africa HE Mr Mahamane Auoudou Cisse signed a reciprocal Visa Waiver Agreement for Diplomatic, Service or Official passport holders to ease traveller movements between the two countries in Cape Town.
The agreement signals the strengthening of relations between the two countries. In terms of the agreement, diplomatic and official passport holders no longer need a visa to enter the country and can remain in the country for a period of up to 90 days.
The agreement supports South Africa’s commitment to attract investment and facilitate intra Africa trade by incrementally relaxing travel regulations.
Ambassador Cisse was accompanied by Mali Minister of Mines and Petroleum Mrs Lelenta Hawa Baba Bah who is also attending the Mining Indaba.
The signing ceremony took place on Mali Day, which marks the day the West African country adopted its Constitution.
Ambassador Cisse said the agreement celebrates historic ties between the two countries which were underscored by former President Nelson Mandela’s visit to Mali in 1962.
He said it was important to facilitate the easier movement of people of the two countries.
Minister Cwele said the Department of Home Affairs initiated a project on the granting of visa waivers for diplomatic and official passport holders in 2017. At the time, there were a number of African countries which did not have waiver agreements with South Africa. The project will also help in the furtherance of the AU 2063 Agenda which advocates for the easing of movement for African people and the facilitation of intra Africa trade.
This Visa Waiver Agreement follows a number of bilateral agreements that have been signed between the two countries, which are as follows:
- Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Commission of Cooperation, signed in December 2000
- Memorandum of Understanding Relating to Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, signed in December 2000
- Bilateral Air Services Agreement, signed in July 2002
- Agreement regarding the Preservation of Ancient Manuscripts at the Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research in Timbuktu, signed in August 2002
- Agreement on Defence and Technical Cooperation, signed in May 2005
- Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, signed in July 2006
- Agreement on Co-operation in the Fields of Arts and Culture, signed in September 2006.
- Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Republic of Mali on Co-operation in the Field of Social Development, signed in October 2009
“I am confident that this facilitation will enhance government to government relations for the benefit of our respective countries and ultimately the continent. Our signing today symbolizes a significant gain by the African Union, with the facilitation of movement of persons between our respective countries as member states,” said Minister Cwele.
Siya Qoza, 082 898 1657 (spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, 071 342 4284 (media manager for the Department of Home Affairs)
Issued by the Department of Home Affairs