Cape Town - 140814 - Pictured is Alan Winde. Members of the Khoisan community attended a sitting of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature. Reporter: Warda Meyer Picture: David Ritchie (083 652 4951)

Cape Town - The Western Cape government is set to lodge a petition to Parliament to intervene in the new immigration regulations, which it claims will seriously impact the province’s tourism industry.

Home Affairs recently introduced controversial immigration regulations which require the use of unabridged birth certificates for people under the age of 18 entering or leaving South Africa.

Responding to a question on the impact of the new regulations on job creation and growth in the Western Cape during the sitting of the Western Cape parliament on Thursday, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said he hoped the petition would result in a reprieve that would enable them to mitigate the harm already caused by the regulations.

Referring to the new visa requirement as Minister Malusi Gigaba’s “anti-tourism, job-killing immigration regulations”, Winde said that since President Jacob Zuma signed the laws into effect over a month ago, there had been an unanimous outcry against them.

The MEC pointed out that the tourism industry had nicknamed Minister Gigaba the “tourism terminator”.

“What is happening at the moment is an absolute disgrace. In its present form these regulations are an embarrassment to (Gigaba’s) office and to our government and to our country.

“If he continues with this implementation he must accept the sole responsibility for the tourism and job losses, the revenue losses and the damage that he is going to cause,” Winde said.

He added that the government needed to use technology and innovation to improve systems.

Winde said research from consultancy firm Grant Thornton estimated that the regulations would cost the tourism industry at least R9.7 billion.

“It is projected that 21 000 jobs will be lost each year. These are job losses we simply cannot afford,” he warned.

Stressing that the regulations would chase away investment, he said it was in complete contrast to the objectives of the National Development Plan in attracting more investment into the country.

“In the usual manner of ANC ministers who often make mistakes and often refuse to own up to them, Gigaba continues to fiddle while our tourism industry burns,” Winde added.

Gigaba must start taking the travel industry’s concerns seriously.

“I have appealed to Minister Gigaba to put these laws on hold pending a thorough review of their impact.

“Tourism industry bodies across the country have begged for a 12-month postponement of the implementation of these laws. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he added.

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Cape Argus