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Reinstate UIF Ters or reverse Level 3 restrictions, says TBCSA

Chorus to save embattled hospitality industry grows.
Bans that may have been sensible during the December peak are ‘killing what little tourism there might be’ for the sector right now. Image: Shutterstock

Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) boss Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa reiterated the organisation’s calls for the UIF’s Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) to be reinstated on Tuesday, saying the industry is on its knees and many more thousands of jobs are on the line.

“The government needs to urgently reinstate UIF Ters benefits for hard-hit workers and businesses in the tourism, hospitality and liquor industries, or we need the extended lockdown alert Level 3 restrictions to be reversed,” he told Moneyweb.

Similar calls have been made by other tourism bodies such as the South African Tourism Services Association, the Federated Hospitality Association, and the Restaurant Association of SA.

Some unions and the Western Cape provincial government are also pushing for Ters to be reintroduced, particularly for the tourism and hospitality sector. This follows the extension of Level 3 restrictions until February 15 amid a second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country.

Read: Alcohol sales remain banned and most beaches closed

Bans on the sale of alcohol and the public visiting of beaches, rivers and dams, together with the 9pm curfew and restrictions on events, have dealt a new blow to the sector’s recovery.

Adding to the hospitality industry’s woes is the recent bout of Stage 2 load shedding.

“We maintain our position” notes Tshivhengwa. “We have always said that as long as there is this type of lockdown, there should be some sort of assistance for affected workers.

He says discussions about the possible reinstatement of Ters benefits have taken place between government, business and labour via Nedlac.

However, there “appears to be no response yet” from government or the UIF.

Not impressed: TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa. Image: Supplied

“The tourism sector is being highly impacted by extended Level 3 restrictions, some of which don’t make sense right now, such as the ban on [visiting] beaches, rivers and dams.

“In the traditional December peak, when some beaches are packed, the ban may have been sensible,” he says.

“However, it is not the busiest part of the year for tourism during this time [mid to late January] … Hence, all the beach ban is doing is killing what little tourism there might be right now for coastal cities and towns as well as leisure spots near dams and rivers.”

Read:

Tshivhengwa says trade in the sector, especially for restaurants, is also being affected by the 9pm curfew as well as the alcohol ban. In addition, the curfew has impacted airlines and the “night economy”.

Closures, job losses

“More restaurants are having to close their doors, because it simply is not profitable to keep them open right now. Hotels are also being affected, with establishments like the Hilton Durban temporarily closing, while others are yet to reopen. Something needs to be done, because people are losing their livelihoods.

“The government is using blunt instruments to curb the pandemic,” he says.

“It is high time that they relook lockdowns … The initial hard lockdown last year was meant to get our health system ready. We should have been better prepared for the Covid-19 second wave.”

David Maynier, Western Cape MEC of Finance and Economic Opportunities, also on Tuesday repeated calls for the Ters benefit scheme to be extended to affected tourism businesses “for the duration of time that the additional restrictions apply”.

Read: Western Cape wants Ters benefit extended in hard-hit Garden Route

According to the MEC, around R56 billion in Ters payouts was distributed between the end of March October 15, 2020.

Source of funds

“Additional payouts can be funded by the UIF’s total investment portfolio of R114 billion [as at March 31, 2020], which includes R60 billion in liquid assets and R54 billion in illiquid assets,” Maynier pointed out.

“These funds could provide the lifeline that businesses and employees need to sustain their operations while the restrictions on the economy are in place,” he said.

“It is simply not fair to expect tourism, hospitality and liquor businesses to continue with limited operations or even close during the peak summer season without the necessary financial support to ensure they remain operational and can retain their staff during the alert Level 3 restrictions,” he added.

“We have received many emails from businesses and individuals who have held on for the past 10 months, but simply can’t continue to sustain their businesses or pay their employees with the current restrictions in place,” noted Maynier.

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Last year over 70 000 people will have died from TB and not a word from Government or the press. Note that it is a curable disease !!!!

And a large portion of that number would have been penned in next to Covid and not TB.

That is the most startling and correct statement about COVID. The Manager at car wash I frequent lost his mother to diabetes and the hospital noted on her death certificate as COVID. He called them out and stated it was incorrect and yet they insisted on COVID. The Doctor stated it was renal failure as a result of diabetes.
And this is where it was left.
Something needs to be investigated on the number of non-covid deaths being noted as COVID. Serious problem this.

It’s all in the terminology. Do people die WITH Covid19 or FROM Covid19? Huge difference.

This is not a second wave, this is a new wave of a new kind of virus. This new virus is a variant of the novel coronavirus sars-cov-2, but it’s not the same virus. So the people that are sick from it should and are said to have Covid20 disease (therefor not Covid19). The new variant is called “Variant 501.V2”.

What of MVA’s and crime? – both could be massively reduced by an upping of visible policing and a taxi crackdown. The army deployed to farms and rural areas for farm attacks, infrastructure theft, stock theft and of course our borders? Shouldn’t our navy be stopping our seas being stripped whilst they’re at it? These are real problems that have existed for over 20 years and are far worse than Covid.

124000 ppl died from TB in SA in 2016, Fact

There is NO MONEY left after the ANC ether stole or wasted it.

Stolen the whole damn lot even the vaccine money.

None so cruel to their own kind as this ANC lot.

Lets wait and see how many vaccine shots will be stolen

Lockdown measures cause an additional 100 000 malaria death among children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria cases far outnumber covid cases. 90 000 South Africans died of diabetes and 60 000 died of TB last year, while 37 000 died of covid.

Does covid justify lockdown and curfew measures? Does it justify the criminalisation of beach-goers and surfers? Does it justify the criminalisation of smokers and wine drinkers? Does it give Ebrahim Patel the right to determine which clothes I should wear in a specific season? Does it justify the minister of police, the hybrid between John Wayne, the Lone Ranger and Idi Amin to chase me off the beach?

We should reject these irrational and ad-hoc decisions from opportunistic and self-centred politicians and their myopic and ignorant advisors with their failed statistical models. Covid did nothing to remove all those deplorable politicians and their advisors. The nation should have access to ivermectin, so we can get rid of these interfering parasites.

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4711

I just had to have a chuckle with this comment:

– so we can get rid of these interfering parasites.

I nearly thought you were referring to our parasitical Gauvament!

I did have the politicians and their advisors in mind when I referred to the anti-parasitic action of ivermectin. Covid is a virus but ivermectin is very effective as a prophylaxis and to lower the viral load after infection. It also protects against the inflammation response due infection.

The economic destruction isn’t some random byproduct of the lock-down. Class suicide, as the washerwoman calls it, is the very point of the lock-down.

The President told us that the virus is now more virulent and can be spread by breathing. Then he said that masks are now mandatory. Not a word about people crammed into taxis where breathing of the virus is an obvious means of transmission. The virus is so small that an electron microscope is needed to visually detect it. Any mask is useless to prevent spread by breathing. Yet we close all beaches and even the use of gym pools for physical therapy is banned. Something is very rotten about the imposing of this myopic and infantile ruling. That is apart from the ignored consequences upon the well being of so many innocent victims of the useless attempts to stop the unstoppable. The fake vaccines will also be useless. Herd immunity, just like for all other strains of the ever-changing flu is the only way forward. If this strain is being generated and spread maliciously then more of the same will only be stopped by catching the culprits. I would interrogate Mr Gates in this regard.

End of comments.

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