Immigration Regulations become political Tourism hot potato, could become a recession tipping point!

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Cape Town Stadium and Table MountainThe DA-run Western Cape government appears to becoming embroiled in a political battle with the ANC government about the Immigration Regulations.  Earlier this week the Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba demonstrated his arrogance when he was called to appear before a Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture Standing Committee.

After having failed to appear before the Standing Committee in September, Minister Gigaba was sent a summons to appear earlier this week.  The Minister dismissed the Standing Committee’s request to delay the implementation of the Immigration Regulations, particularly the requirement that tourists have to apply for the visa in person, saying that he had not been given any new information to make him change the by now-gazetted Regulations.  The Standing Committee has recommended to the Minister that the biometric data of tourists be captured on arrival, and that an e-Visa be introduced.

The Standing Committee is chaired by Bev Schäfer, who told Tourism Update that ‘We are recommending that there should be a suspension or a postponement of these regulations until further notice until there has been proper public stakeholder engagement and a regulatory impact assessment has been performed’.  Ms Schäfer aid that the government had not conducted an assessment of the effect of the Regulations on the economy for the five years ahead.  More strongly, she warned that the Regulations could tip the economy of our country into a recession: ‘We are too close to another financial crisis to have this kind of legislation’.  Not only the Tourism industry would be affected by the Regulations, but also the important Film and Model industries of the Western Cape.  She questioned why the new Immigration Regulations were used to curb crime.

James Vos, DA Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Tourism, has requested that the Tourism industry should present its feedback about the impact of the Immigration Regulations to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tourism.   All Tourism stakeholders should benefit from the Regulations, not currently the case, and should be polled as to their solutions, to allow ‘South Africa needs to be open for business with the world to create the jobs our people need’.

The Western Cape Parliament has sent Minister Gigaba a report with its recommendations regarding the Immigration Regulations.

The South African Tourism industry cannot afford to have a DA – ANC conflict about the Immigration Regulations affect the livelihood of so many employees!   One hopes that sanity will prevail at the Department of Home Affairs, and that national Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom can persuade his colleague to see the Tourism perspective of the damaging impact of the Immigration Regulations, and that they can jointly find a solution of benefit to all!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook:  click here

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