Travelers to South Africa told “Financial Times” (The Financial Times) That they were humiliated by the surprising test, which Rainier said stemmed from cases of fake passports, but did not originate in an official UK demand.
“It’s very unusual, they did not think about the consequences of the test in light of the history of South Africa,” said Zinhle Novazi, a South African who lives in the UK and does not speak Afrikaans, but was required to pass the test to board a flight from Ibiza last week. It certainly amounts to indirect racial discrimination. ”
The test, which has 15 questions from the airline, contains grammatical and spelling errors, with the examinees being asked about the side of the road in which they travel in South Africa and the name of the highest mountain in the country.
Dinesh Joseph, a South African resident of the UK, says at the Rainier counter he was told he could not board a flight back from a holiday on the Spanish island of Lanzarote in May without taking the test, even though he is not an Afrikaans speaker. “It’s disrespectful to be told you can not take the test in the language you speak,” said Joseph, who has filed a formal complaint. “You can not create a profile and test people like that.”
According to Rainier, “Due to the high incidence of South African passport fraud, we require UK travelers to complete a simple questionnaire written in Afrikaans. If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be denied a flight and will receive a full refund.”
The South African Department of the Interior has recently released alleged cases of officials providing fake passports to criminal elements but finding no connection to travel to the UK or Europe. As part of the ongoing investigation that is underway, arrests of suspected counterfeiters have been made.
Nomfundo Dlamini, a South African citizen living in the UK who also had to be tested before the flight, was interviewed on South African national radio this week, referring to Rainier’s new procedures: “This is apartheid 2.0, further repression, further discrimination.”
South African travelers say they are confused by how general knowledge questions about South Africa are meant to verify their identity documents: “Even a South African can not answer these questions,” says Novazi.
Joseph also joined in and asked “how does this prove in any way that my passport is fake? As far as I am concerned there is no connection. They did not even look at my Schengen visa which requires biometrics and other verification to travel in Europe”, he adds. “It’s weird – it’s ridiculous and in fact it’s just offensive.”