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Western Cape’s three-phase lobbying effort is in full swing to remove SA from travel bans, UK red lists

Premier of the Western Cape Alan Winde. File picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Premier of the Western Cape Alan Winde. File picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 14, 2021

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Cape Town – The Western Cape government’s three-phase lobbying effort is in full swing as it reiterates its call to remove South Africa from international travel bans and red lists.

The province’s three-phase lobbying effort is being led by the Western Cape’s Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier and spans diplomatic corps, national government, Cape Town air access and key private sector stakeholders, the Western Cape government said on Tuesday.

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The three-phase lobbying effort involves:

  • A meeting with members of the diplomatic corps – which includes the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France and the US – to discuss their respective government’s criteria
  • Collaborating with airlines to provide assistance in lobbying their governments
  • Providing support to national tourism bodies in their efforts to apply pressure globally – which includes the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci)

“There is no empirical evidence which supports travel bans stopping or reducing the transmission of the Omicron variant, and this has further been stated by the World Health Organisation,” Premier of the Western Cape Alan Winde said.

“It is crucial that we get the balance right in saving lives and jobs and be guided by policies rooted in scientific evidence and best practice,” he added.

Maynier said his aim was to put pressure on removing the red-list status immediately and pointed to the devastating effects even short term travel bans had on the economy.

“Globally, we need to see an awareness of the impact these ad-hoc bans have on airline capabilities, our tourism industry and the knock-on effects felt into multiple sectors as a result,” he said.

The Minister of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Naledi Pandor said on eNCA on Tuesday that she hoped the travel bans would be lifted soon as Dirco continued to engage all countries that have imposed travel bans on South Africa.

Pandor terms the travel bans on South Africa and the region as a whole as “unscientific and discriminatory”.

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“We now know that the Omicron variant had long been present in many of the countries that have banned us. And yet, they said nothing and have ignored science and warnings from WHO and UN in terms of clinical responses to the pandemic and the avoidance of travel bans,” Pandor said.

Meanwhile, TBCSA’s CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa has stated the Omicron variant travel bans had translated to R1 billion in cancelled bookings over the past few days according to the tourism sector’s initial desktop survey, IOL reported on Sunday.

– IOL

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