The Home Affairs Minister, known in the tourism industry as ‘Tourism Terminator’ for his restrictive visa policies seeing billions lost in inbound tourism, has been denied leave to appeal against a lower court ruling that he lied under oath in the Fireblade Aviation operation. Meanwhile Gigaba (pictured) is at the centre of a social media sex scandal as a home made video of him taking his own matter into his own hand is being distributed via Twitter.
Minister lied to Parliament
TourismUpdate reports the case against Gigaba was laid by billionaire businessman Nicky Oppenheimer and ANC politician-turned-businessman Manne Dipico. They told Parliament that Gigaba had lied to the institution when he insisted that he never gave the company approval to operate a private terminal at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.
This means that Gigaba has no further avenues in the courts to try and vindicate himself; he has exhausted all his legal remedies. The SA Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has recommended that President Cyril Ramaphosa take disciplinary action against Gigaba, which in effect could lead to him either having to resign, or be dismissed.
Meanwhile Gigaba’s controversial visa regulations continue to hurt SA’s inbound tourims. One of them is the regulation that parents must travel with unabridged birth certificates for underage children and certified letters from any parent who is not travelling with the child. It has seen thousands of families being denied travel to South Africa – even entire tour groups, like youth choirs, have been turned away at airports in Europe. Promises of visa reform has not been honoured by the minister.
Late last month the embattled minister has also taken to Twitter to apologise after a home sex video was leaked. In a series of tweets, Gigaba says the private video was offloaded from his phone during an alleged phone hack, which tech experts say is highly unlikely.
A sexual act
The compromising video has since gone viral on social media, showing the minister engaging in a sexual act. Opposition party, the EFF, has denied involvement in leaking the video.
If it is up to the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) CEO David Frost Gigaba won’t make it to tomorrow. He says government announced in March that the visa restrictions would be removed, but this still hasn’t happened. Home affairs is obstructive and home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba begrudgingly announced some amendments recently but failed to do what Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says was agreed upon.
According to a report in The Citizen Gigaba failed to consult the tourism industry about the countries for which visa requirements should be scrapped and included some obscure countries that are not tourism source countries for South Africa, while other important source countries like New Zealand were left out.
Frost said that if a minister cannot do what the president says must be done – get rid of the regulatory barriers to tourism growth – the president should replace that minister.
According to Frost, when former president Jacob Zuma wanted to remove visa requirements for Russia for his own “questionable reasons” he did not consult anybody and just did it. “Why should it be any more difficult to do the same with regard to other countries to support the tourism industry,” asked Frost.
In a report by TourismUpdate, tourism industry representatives are hopeful that Gigaba’s troubles could speed up his imminent departure from destructive politics. “He is the person responsible for the tourism decline from our key source markets with his ill-conceived visa regulations,” says James Vos, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Tourism. “He was warned from the start that these regulations would hurt the industry and cause drops in arrivals because of the superfluous unabridged birth certificate (UBC) requirement, and also the ludicrous in-person application process. He simply went ahead without following the advice of the industry. He has lost all credibility and should resign or be fired, so that we can start rebuilding our tourism brand and implement systems that will take tourism forward. We need regulations that will make it easier for tourists to apply online by way of electronic visas.”
DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen, agrees: “Gigaba has caused immense damage to the tourism industry, and it will take years to rebuild the image of our country, and send out the correct message to the world that SA is accessible and a destination worth putting on the visitor bucket list. The DA firmly believes that dismissing Gigaba will be the best course of action for the country, and for the tourism industry.