DA Letter: New Immigration Rules
DA leader Helen Zille, in her own words, about the new immigration rules: “[travellers] are now turned into criminals by this clumsy and ill-conceived legislation.”
By Estelle Vosloo
I an open letter Western Cape Premier and Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille called on the South African government to seize their passive aggressive hostility to the people South Africa needs; business people, investors, field specialists and tourists.
The letter which can be read on the Democratic Alliance’s website calls for the ANC government and specifically Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba to immediately re-think the knock-on effects of the newest immigration regulations.
We have taken a look at the letter and will be publishing it over two instalments.
Ms Zille writes, “At the end of May, the Department of Home Affairs gazetted new regulations that make it considerably harder for citizens of other countries to enter South Africa.
“The new regulations distinguish between short-stay visas and long-stay permits. One of the most significant changes is that visa applications or extensions can now only be made at missions abroad where details are biometrically captured and visas collected in person.
“Anyone traveling with a minor will also now need to be in possession of the child's unabridged birth certificate and, in some cases, affidavits by missing parents as well as translations of birth certificates issued in other languages.
“At first glance, the reasoning behind these regulations sounds fair: strengthen our border management, curb illegal immigration and prevent human trafficking.”
Continuing Ms Zille said that the new regulations will, in her opinion do none of what it was intended to do but would rather have a “profoundly negative impact on jobs and our economy.”
She added that she thought the regulations were prematurely implemented and not well thought through. “Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will tell you the regulations are there to protect us. He'll also say they're no worse than the hoops we South Africans have to jump through when traveling to many other destinations.
“Of course all countries have a duty to protect their borders. All countries also have the right to attract tourism, investment and talent while controlling the influx of unskilled immigrants.
“But if proper systems to balance these complex requirements are not in place, all you will do is effectively kill the goose that lays the golden eggs of tourism, investment and jobs,” wrote Zille.
Zille then turn criticism to President Jacob Zuma saying he, “has repeatedly committed his government to implementing the National Development Plan (NDP). What he and his government do not seem to grasp, is that policy choices must be made on the basis of whether they will promote or undermine the NDP.
“The NDP emphasises the importance of tourism to growth and job creation. The sector currently employs 600 000 people and contributes over 3% to our GDP. According to the NDP, tourism should be able to create in the region of 225 000 additional jobs by 2020 while contributing, directly and indirectly, around R500 billion to our GDP. That could be an enormous contribution to our primary goal of poverty reduction.”
Zille confirmed that the Democratic Alliance believes this is achievable, but not if the government continues to hamper the process, “by placing more hurdles in front of the people whose business we desperately need.”
As New World Immigration reported before, Zille also pointed out that the backlogs and turnaround time currently at the order of the day at the Department of Home Affairs mean the department is not in the position to ensure a smooth transition to the new visa regulations.
Read part two of this compelling letter on Wednesday.