Fencing has been put up to control access to the Central Beach parking lot in Plettenberg Bay. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Fencing has been put up to control access to the Central Beach parking lot in Plettenberg Bay. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

MEC pleads for UIF/TERS support for Garden Route and other hot spots

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Dec 17, 2020

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Cape Town – UIF/TERS support needs to be extended to the Garden Route and other hot spots, Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC pleaded on Thursday.

Maynier said the district, heavily reliant on tourism, was already on its knees, and an estimated 10 000 businesses would be negatively impacted by the additional restrictions, including the curfew and full beach closure.

The Garden Route had a GDP of R62.2 billion in 2019 and contributed 9.04% to the Western Cape GDP and 1.22% to the GDP of South Africa in 2019, he said.

Maynier said he wrote to Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane today to request the national government extend the UIF/TERS relief to businesses and employees operating in the Garden Route district and other hot spots for the duration of time that the additional restrictions applied to them.

’’There is no doubt that the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, 14 December that the Garden Route District would be declared a hot spot and that, alongside this, all beaches would be closed in the Garden Route for the festive season will deal a devastating blow to the economy of the district, which is heavily reliant on tourism for its survival,’’ Maynier said.

’’We are opposed to the closure of any of the Western Cape’s beaches, as was made clear in our consultations with national government, and Premier Alan Winde and the Garden Route District are challenging this decision.

’’The Western Cape government has focused on getting the balance right between preventing the spread of Covid-19 while keeping the economy as open as possible, saving both lives and livelihoods.

’’This decision by the president fails to get this balance right, especially given the scientific advice that outdoor places with good ventilation are safer.

’’The festive season is a critical moment for economic recovery, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors, which will now not be possible in the Garden Route district. And so, as with previous lockdown restrictions, where businesses are compromised by additional restrictions, we need to ensure that they are given necessary support from government.

’’The Covid-19 TERS Relief Scheme was established to assist employees who lost income due to the coronavirus and the regulations limiting economic activity during the various levels of the lockdown.’’

Maynier said he also requested Kubayi-Ngubane that her department consider any additional relief measures that could be provided to these businesses.

’’Without this support we fear that livelihoods of thousands of people will be in jeopardy,’’ he said.


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