DA Shadow Minister of Tourism, James Vos, will submit an official complaint to the Tourism Complaints Officer, Mirriam Setwaba, to investigate and address the Department of Home Affairs’ “draconian visa regulations”, which are set to come into force in five days. The regulations include the requirement that minors travelling into and out of South Africa to produce unabridged birth certificates.
An angered James Vos, DA Shadow Minister of Tourism, told Tourism Update that the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, which he attended on Tuesday (May 26), was adamant that the new regulations should be implemented. “An estimated 20% of air travel in South Africa includes families and children, and this will obviously be negatively impacted should the regulations come into effect,” he said. “We cannot afford to negatively impact an industry that contributes 9% to the country’s GDP.”
At the Portfolio Committee, Vos argued that Chapter 18 of the Children’s Act be implemented, rather than the regulations that will come into effect in five days’ time. “You cannot go ahead with new regulations without a proper assessment of the impact.”
Vos said he asked the Committee whether proper regulatory methods had been undertaken before the decision was made to implement these regulations and who had been consulted. He said he was told “the meeting was not about that”, rather, it was about child trafficking.
“It is completely misleading to say the tourism industry has been consulted in the implementation of these regulations because this Committee is clearly refusing to listen to the industry,” he said. “The industry has not had the opportunity to sit down with Home Affairs to unpack the real implications of these regulations.”
Vos will be taking his complaints to the Tourism Complaints Officer of South Africa. The Tourism Complaints Officer must address the following with regards to the regulations, he said:
- Whether such onerous regulations are international best practice;
- Which other countries have instituted similar regulations and what impact has this had;
- Whether a proper economic and regulatory impact assessment was undertaken prior to the regulations being drafted; and
- Why there were no formal engagements with any tourism industry associations.
“If government fails to heed the concerns of the industry, we run the risk of losing international visitor interest in our country.”
Meanwhile, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture, Beverley Schäfer MPP, will lead a protest today (May 27) against the implementation of new immigration regulations.
Schäfer will call on Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to stop the implementation of the regulations during her speech at the Budget Vote debate on Home Affairs in the NCOP. The picket will commence at 12h00 on the corner of Commercial and Plein Street, Cape Town.