By Beverley Schäfer MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture:
Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has today announced superficial amendments to the Visa Regulations 2014, which have cost the South African economy R 2.6 billion since its full implementation in May 2015.
I will today write to Minister Hanekom, to suspend the Visa Regulations until a full impact assessment is done, not only on the tourism sector but business as a whole.
According to the amendments, it will no longer be mandatory for inbound travellers from visa-exempt countries to carry unabridged birth certificates for children travelling with them. These amendments are simply a sugar-coated pill in that this only applies to visa-exempt countries.
Unabridged birth certificates are not necessary and biometrics must be done at airports, not at embassies.
In my capacity as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture, I have engaged tirelessly with all sectors affected by the Visa Regulations, in the Western Cape.
The committee conducted public hearings which were reported on and presented to the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, in November 2014. It has been a year since the report initially alerted the Minister to the job-killing impact of these regulations.
While the amendments are a step in the right direction, it is simply not enough. The inter-ministerial committee must suspend these regulations and conduct a full regulatory impact assessment.