Tourism red-list as irrational – Manny de Freitas

DA MP says govt’s worrying trend of trying to grab power seems to now be playing out on an international stage

Tourism red-list as irrational as other Covid-19 lockdown regulations

1 October 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) supports the Western Cape government’s decision to engage with the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and President Cyril Ramaphosa on the list of countries that are allowed to travel to South Africa. The DA is of the view that the list in its current form is utterly ridiculous. For example, tourists who have tested negative for Covid-19 and have downloaded government’s tracing app should not be considered a health risk and be discriminated against because they happen to be of a certain nationality or traveling from a certain country.

If all the proper health and safety protocols pertaining to stopping the spread of Covid-19 are implemented at airports, on airplanes, at restaurants and hotels, then that should mitigate the risk of a second wave of infections in South Africa to a large extent.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, stated that government “will use its own level of coronavirus risk to determine countries considered high, medium or low risk”.  The DA calls for the data used to determine the countries on the high-risk list be made public.

Government’s worrying trend of trying to grab power seems to now be playing out on an international stage with the irrational banning of certain countries to its red-list. This list does not seem based on any facts or data. As with other Covid-19 regulations and decisions, it seems that countries are arbitrarily put on this list without proper interrogation of the possible negative outcomes of this action on South Africa’s economy and tourism sector.

It is irrational that leisure travellers from South Africa’s biggest markets will not be permitted to enter our borders. Why are only high-skill individuals, investors, sports people and diplomats permitted entrance? Are they magically immune to Covid-19 and tourists not?

The fact is that the Minister of No Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has done almost nothing to fight for the livelihoods of those working in her sector. She has been blind and deaf to their fears and realities. This might be because she has never understood her portfolio or sector.

The Minister is clearly out of touch with the industry she is meant to serve.

The latest regulations continue government’s trend throughout lockdown – that of an arrogant and destructive authoritarian government that cares nothing for its people and the economy.

Issued by Manny de Freitas, DA Shadow Minister of Tourism, 1 October 2020