The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to request clarity on the criteria used to draw up the red list comprising of countries South Africa considers as high risk for international travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We will also submit parliamentary questions in this regard.
The Department of Home Affairs on Monday published a revised red list. The DA is of the view that the system to identify these high risk nations is not only illogical but has also shown to be having a devastating effect on the tourism industry, jobs and the economy.
The list, which was 5 days overdue, now stands at 22, down from an initial 60 nations. While the number of countries are reduced, the list now includes countries such as Germany, the United States and Canada which are among the most important source markets for tourism in South Africa.
As was the case last time, the revised red list appears to have been arbitrarily drawn up as there is no correlation with the latest global Covid statistics. If total deaths per country was the criteria used to draw up this list then countries like Ecuador would have been included on the list as it has more deaths than Canada which was added onto the red list. Turkey and Bolivia with more deaths and are not on the red list yet the Netherlands with less deaths than those two countries remain on the list.
The same can be said for the statistics for deaths per million population such as Bolivia and Chile which are fourth and sixth respectively in this category but are not on the red list while countries such as Bangladesh at number 46 has been added onto the list.
The DA is of the view that the red list should be replaced with a simpler and more economically-beneficial system. Such a system should be for all people to be permitted to enter through our borders on condition that they produce a recent negative PCR test which would have been conducted at the country of origin.
In the case of countries that were not previously on the red list and were added on this week, such as Germany (with a low per capita death rate compared to the other red listed countries), tourists in those markets that have planned holidays to South Africa now have to suddenly cancel or postpone their tourism activities.
Information received by the DA from tourism experts indicate that the uncertain and inexplicable red list will completely bankrupt the tourism sector in South Africa within a few weeks. There are now a number of international tour operators who will after the announcement this week will not be selling tour packages to South Africa in the foreseeable future.
Once again, this government is demonstrating that it doesn't care and doesn't understand the movement of tourist and is out of touch with how the tourism industry functions.