“I have approved the issuance of port of entry visas to BRICS business executives for up to 10 years, with each visit not to exceed 30 days,” he told the Cape Town Press Club.
The visas have been in effect since 23 December last year.
“This applies to diplomatic, official/service, and ordinary passport holders.”
Gigaba said the relevant individuals would receive a long-term visa allowing them multiple entries into the country for the duration of the passport’s validity, not exceeding 10 years.
The department would continue to meet a turnaround time of five days for short-term business visas.
It had consulted extensively with the BRICS business council and the trade and industry department.
Gigaba said the four countries presented an “important investment potential”.
Together with South Africa, the countries comprised 40% of the world’s population.
“Business people from Brazil, Russia, India, and China want to come to our country, buy and sell an increasing array of products and services, and invest in our companies and growth sectors,” he said.
“At home affairs we are completely committed to enabling this by facilitating the efficient entry of these commercial visitors, and will continually look for opportunities to improve in this regard.”
Gigaba smiled when asked if his announcement would anger countries that had a long-established trading relationship with South Africa.
“No, every good thing must start somewhere,” he said.
The same arrangement might well be extended to other countries who had “significant investments” locally.
“These are issues that you undertake as you improve your systems.”