Nigerian academics were delayed their visas into South Africa, allegedly due to fears that they may be bringing the Ebola virus into the country.
Now a seminar about Boko Haram at the South African Institute of Internal Affairs (SAIIA) which was to be held at Wits last week – has been postponed.
“This is partly as a result of difficulties around the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa,” said Sarasa Ananmalay, events manager at SAIIA.
Communications manager at SAIIA, Hopewell Radebe said the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) communicated the message to those who were due to attend the seminar. He confirmed that SAIIA had not received official comment on the matter from the South African Commission in Nigeria.
Executive director of AMEC Na’eem Jeenah said guests were not denied visas into the country because of the Ebola scare, but the media are “suspecting that this is the case”.
Jeenah said the Department of Home Affairs had outsourced the processing of visas to a private company suggesting the processing of visas is “longer than normal because of the Ebola issue”.
Seember Aie from the South African embassy in Abuja, Nigeria disagrees that a visa application would be denied due to health fears of the Ebola virus: “We have never denied a visa based on that,” she said.
The health concerns of travellers have been an issue since the outbreak of the virus, but despite this, airlines continue to operate in West Africa, according to spokesperson of South African Airways (SAA) Tlali Tlali.
Tlali told Wits Vuvuzela this week that the airline had taken measures to ensure safety of passengers adding that staff members would be on “lookout for passengers who bear specific and visible symptoms associated with the Ebola virus”.