Western Cape economic opportunities MEC, Alan Winde, has submitted an urgent petition to parliament to have the countries controversial new immigration regulations suspended. The petition was handed over to DA shadow minister of tourism, and parliamentary member, James Vos, and will likely be tabled and reviewed before the national assembly.
Under the new regulations, anyone under the age of 18 travelling in an out of the country, regardless of their nationality, are expected to carry an unabridged birth certificate. The clause was seen as a means of tackling the issue of child trafficking, but has proven problematic because many countries do not issue unabridged certificates.
The regulations have also introduced a new visa system for people entering the country, with applicants now required to apply for their visas in person. This also means that anyone wishing to change the status of the visa from short-term to permanent residence will now be forced to return to their country of origin to apply.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, Winde complained that the new regulations were not conducive to travelling, or the tourism sector as a whole. He was also concerned that little consultation had been done with the tourism and economic sectors, when the proposed regulations were initiated.
Although acknowledging the Department of Home Affairs obligation to tackle the issue of child trafficking, and illegal immigrations, Winde stressed the negative impact the regulations would have on the country’s economy.
“Tourism is a big part of our economy in this part of the world. Here in the Southern tip of South Africa alone, it is worth about R18 Billion to our economy, and it creates thousands of jobs,” he noted.
A recent Grant Thornton report has suggested that the new immigration regulations may result in a R10 Billion loss to the country’s economy, as well as the of more than 21 000 jobs.
Having failed in numerous bids to interact with government and discuss a solution to the problem, Winde said he would resort to submitting a petition to parliament to have the regulations suspended for a 12 month period, pending further discussion and analysis.
“We’ve had interactions from government to government, but that hasn’t been very successful. I’ve requested one on one meetings with the minister, and that also hasn’t been successful. So one of the next processes is to petition to parliament,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)