HomeWorld NewsRyanair requires South Africans to prove their nationality with an Afrikaans test

Ryanair requires South Africans to prove their nationality with an Afrikaans test

  • Ryanair says it wants to limit entry of fraudulent passport holders
  • Afrikaans spoken by only 12% of South Africans
  • South African government cracks down on fake documents

DUBLIN/JOHANNESBURG, June 6 (Reuters) – Ryanair (RYA.I) is asking South African passengers to prove their nationality before traveling by taking a test in Afrikaans, a language used by just 12% of the population that has long been identified with apartheid and the white minority.

Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, which does not operate flights to and from South Africa, said it was requiring all passengers to the UK from of the country complete the “simple questionnaire” due to what she described as a high prevalence of South African passport fraud.

“If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused travel and given a full refund,” said a spokesperson for the Irish airline.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which has warned against unions selling fake passports, said it would issue a statement on Ryanair’s test.

The UK High Commission in South Africa said on Twitter that Ryanair’s test was not a UK government requirement to enter the UK. The Irish High Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The low-cost carrier said the test would apply to any South African passport holder traveling to Britain from another part of Europe on the carrier. The airline did not immediately respond to a question about why it would apply to these routes, given Britain says it is not a requirement.

Zinhle Novazi, a South African lawyer, was tested while traveling by Ryanair from Ibiza, Spain, to London on May 29.

Some of the questions include the name of South Africa’s highest mountain, its largest city and a national holiday.

“I was able to answer questions,” said Novazi, who learned Afrikaans in school but is not a native speaker of the language. She was then allowed to board the plane.

Novazi wrote to the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation on June 1 but received no response.

The ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The test sparked a backlash from South Africans in Johannesburg.

“It’s very discriminatory for a whole host of South Africans who don’t speak Afrikaans,” Siphiwe Gwala told Reuters.

“They’re using this (test) in a totally nonsensical way,” said Conrad Steenkamp, ​​chief executive of the Afrikaans Language Council.

Afrikaans is the third of the 11 most widely spoken official languages ​​in South Africa, used by 12% of the country’s 58 million people. It has long been identified with apartheid ideology and was considered the official language until the end of apartheid in 1994.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin, Promit Mukherjee and Nqobile Dludla in Johannesburg; Editing by Alison Williams and James Macharia Chege

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Must Read