Hospitality association, FEDHASA, has welcomed the announcement by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi extending the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) for a further six months to June 30, 2023.
The South African Government had decided not to renew the permits when they expired in December 2021 but, initially agreed to an extension of December 2022 to grant ZEP holders a chance to apply for alternative visas.
“FEDHASA empathises greatly with the serious impact the cancellation of the permits may have had on some businesses; particularly the logistical considerations and humanitarian implications for staff members who have been an integral part of the team for many years,” said Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA National Chair.
“Thousands of legal Zimbabwean Permit Holders have been living and working in South Africa for many years. Many now have South African children and families.
“Requiring of ZEPs to leave South Africa would not only have negative consequences for the hospitality and tourism industry, but would cause trauma and pain to people whose only sin was to legally look for a better life for themselves and their families,” she added.
South Africa’s unemployment problem will not be resolved by forcibly removing a few hundred thousand Zimbabwean legal permit holders who had built their lives in this country. Rather, South Africa should set its sights on expanding its economy and creating more jobs for the millions of South Africans that are unemployed, which the tourism and hospitality industry could play a key role in if there was a concerted government effort to prioritise removing the red tape that hamstrings the industry.
“For tourism and hospitality to deliver on its economic promise, we require an approach where all Government departments, business, and labour join forces to remove unnecessary red tape, provide a tourism-friendly environment and elevate our destination status to the level it should be. Inbound International tourism and hospitality could be the key to making a massive dent in our unemployment problems in SA.
“We could create significant numbers of jobs in hospitality and tourism in areas where other industries do not operate if we simply committed to collaborating meaningfully to facilitate the changes that are needed for tourism to flourish,” Anderson concluded.