Ryanair low-cost airlines require South African passengers to prove their nationality before traveling by completing a test in Afrikaans, a language used by only 12% of the population that has long been identified with apartheid, and white minority, Reuters reports.
The largest airline in Europe in terms of number of passengers, which does not operate flights to and from South Africa, said it requires any passenger heading to the UK from the state to complete a “simple questionnaire” due to the large number of passengers. fake South African passports.
“If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, their journey will be denied and the amount paid will be refunded in full,” a spokesman for the Irish airline said.
The South African Department of the Interior, which has warned of some passport-selling cartels, has said it will issue a statement on the Ryanair test.
The British diplomatic mission in South Africa said on Twitter that the Ryanair test is not a requirement of the British government to enter the United Kingdom.
The low-cost carrier said the test would apply to any South African passport holder flying to the UK from other parts of Europe using the company. It did not respond at the time of publication of the information on why the test was applied to those routes, as the United Kingdom says it is not a requirement.
Zinhle Novazi, a South African lawyer, took the test when he traveled with Ryanair from Ibiza, Spain, to London on May 29.
Some questions include naming South Africa’s highest mountain, the largest city, and a national holiday.
“I was able to answer the questions,” said Novazi, who learned Afrikaans at school but is not a native speaker of the language. She was able to board the plane.
Novazi wrote to the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation on June 1, but received no response.
The department did not respond to Reuters either.
The test drew criticism from South Africans in Johannesburg.
“It’s very discriminatory for a lot of non-Afrikaans-speaking South Africans,” Siphiwe Gwala told Reuters.
“They use it in a way that is completely absurd,” said Conrad Steenkamp, executive director of the Afrikaans Language Council.
Afrikaans is the third most spoken of the 11 official languages of 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.
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