Business executives, and their immigration attorneys, from high-risk key inbound source markets are allegedly not receiving answers to their requests for permission to travel to South Africa on business.
Following the announcement on September 30 that business travel from all countries – including the list of high-risk countries – Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, issued another statement on October 4, stating: “Any person from a country listed as having a high COVID-19 infection and transmission rate, who wish to undertake business travel into South Africa, may, in writing, apply to the Minister of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter the Republic for business purposes during the period of the national state of disaster.”
The statement noted that such applications must be directed to the email address: Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za.
Yet, according to the Western Cape Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, his office has received complaints from business that emails to this address had not been answered since the reopening of international travel on October 1.
“And so, today I have written to the Minister to request his urgent intervention to ensure that the appropriate resource is allocated so that business travellers from high-risk countries who apply for permission to travel to South Africa receive a response within at least 24 hours.”
He added that an easier fix, as per his recent submission to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma, would be to simply scrap the risk-based approach to international travel and the ‘red-list’ of countries not permitted to travel to South Africa.
“We have appealed to her instead to ensure safe international travel that supports economic recovery, that all travellers should be required to produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure, supplemented by vigorous screening on arrival and antigen testing at the airport should they fail to pass screening protocols,” explained Maynier.
According to him, at a time when economic recovery is critical and when there is clearly a high demand for business travellers to visit South Africa and stimulate the economy, it is “unacceptable” that government was putting measures in place that did not work and unnecessarily block investment.
“Our proposed alternative to the risk-based approach for international travel would remove the unfair and unnecessary red tape currently in place to prevent business travellers from visiting South Africa, while also allowing leisure tourists to return unimpeded, bringing the investment we need to rebuild our economy following the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa,” he said.
Tourism Update was unable to reach the DHA spokesperson at the time of going to print.