IMMIGRATION REPORT LEAKS SHOULD NOT DISTRACT INDUSTRY FROM TASK AT HAND – TBCSA
Pretoria, 11 November 2014: The leaking of the TBCSA report on the impact of South Africa’s new immigration regulations on the travel and tourism sector, is unfortunate but should not distract the industry from the task at hand, says the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
The sectoral impact assessment study on the new regulations was commissioned by the TBCSA in July 2014, as part of the private sector’s preparations to engage with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). At the time the TBCSA had identified two specific regulations, which were of particular concern to the travel and tourism trade:
– the requirement for all children under the age of 18 exiting or entering the country to carry a copy of their unabridged birth certificates;
– the requirement for nationals of countries for which South Africa requires visas on entry to make in-person visa applications at SA Foreign missions for biometric visa processing prior to departure from their country of residence
The TBCSA therefore decided to commission a study to assess the impact of these regulations in order to inform the Council’s engagement with the DHA and other relevant stakeholders. Following a meeting with Minister Malusi Gigaba on the 12th September, he announced on 17th September, plans to proceed with the implementation of the biometric visa system, and the postponement on the implementation of the unabridged birth certificates until 1st June 2015.
“We are disappointed that the report that was shared in confidence with TBCSA members and stakeholders was leaked to the media, particularly now that we have started working with the DHA through the Immigrations Task Team that was announced by Minister Gigaba”, says TBCSA CEO, Mmatšatši Ramawela. “Although the report is not confidential, it was not meant to be in the public domain, rather, it was meant to provide a basis for an industry dialogue with Home Affairs and other key role-players, she says.
Ramawela explained that the TBCSA commissioned the impact assessment study, to avoid relying on anecdotal information in the dialogue with the DHA and other key stakeholders. She furthermore confirmed that from the onset there was an undertaking from those stakeholders who received the report that its contents would not be discussed or released in the public domain. “We made it clear that the report is not to be released to the media”.
TBCSA distances itself from the leak that has taken place. “We remain steadfast on our decision not to publish the report or to discuss its contents outside the boundaries of the Immigration Task Team. Furthermore we want to reaffirm our commitment to working with the DHA, the National Department of Tourism and other stakeholders to find a win-win solution to addressing the security challenges of our country without impacting negatively on the travel and tourism industry, which is already under strain from the Ebola pandemic and the ongoing global economic stress,” said Ramawela.