Cape Town - Responding to an article that the new visa rules could cost the SA economy R7.5bn a year, Fin24 user Paul O'Sullivan, a former director of the Tourism Business Council, writes:
"I was travelling back from London and missed my flight, being SA235.
I was told that SA237 was full and all passengers had checked in except three. I decided to wait in case they did not show. Although there was already a waiting list, as a Life Platinum member I automatically get to the top of the waiting list if there are no other Life Platinum passengers on the list ahead of me.
I was at the check-in counter when the three people arrived - one adult and two teenagers. There was a very small technical issue with the documents for the children, who were 15 and 16 years old and clearly NOT being trafficked. The three of them could not check in and I got on the flight. That was in June.
Since June, I have been in and out of South Africa at least ten times and was shocked to see people with kids being rejected from every single inbound flight. On a flight from Washington, I saw three families not getting on the aircraft.
Many years ago, I used to be a director of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, I was also a director of Tourism Johannesburg and I also assisted with tourism development projects in Livingstone, Zambia.
I've recently bumped into an old acquaintance of mine from the Livingstone Tourism Association, in Washington. He told me, with a smug look on his face, that the new visa rules in South Africa have boosted tourism arrivals in Zambia and Namibia.
With the global economy going into recession, it’s now clear that our government is intent on putting South Africans out of work. If ever there was a child trafficking problem in South Africa, it was NEVER on our air borders, so we have completely shot ourselves in the foot with this latest uninformed display of arrogance."