The ban on interprovincial travel for hunting, as has been gazetted by Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, continues to have a devastating effect on the hunting industry in the Eastern Cape.
Although the minister has withdrawn the regulations banning overnight accommodation, she has not gone far enough, and her inaction is costing the industry millions in lost revenue, and places thousands of jobs on the line.
Hunting excursions have decreased drastically since the lockdown was initially implemented, and this has had a severe impact on the traditional hunting season between May and August.
A large portion of the income for hunters in the Eastern Cape, is obtained from hunters who visit the Eastern Cape from other provinces. Due to the restriction that prevents hunters to enter the province for this purpose, the jobs bloodbath is set to continue within the industry.
The question we need to ask now is where is the MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mlungisi Mvoko, while the hunting industry is being crippled by theses draconian lockdown regulations?
Break your silence MEC and tell us what you are doing to save jobs related to the hunting industry.
In response to a parliamentary question, MEC Mvoko has previously indicated that there is no comprehensive statistics currently available on the impact of the lockdown on the tourism sector. He said at least 92 tourism related companies have reported being in distress since the lockdown began.
Mvoko also said it is anticipated that, on average, the tourism industry will operate at less than 25% of normal levels for 2020!
SMMEs are particularly hard hit. Jobs losses are inevitable, forcing many households into poverty and deprivation. It is anticipated that 43 000 jobs in the tourism sector are at risk, based on a 55% closure rate.
Now, more than ever, we need to take proactive steps to save any jobs we can, and yet MEC
Mvoko has been silent.
I have submitted questions to the MEC, asking him to clarify what steps he has taken to assist the hunting industry specifically, and the tourism sector in general.
MEC Mvoko must tell the people of the Eastern Cape what his department, which has been entrusted with the economic development of this province, and which should be jealously safeguarding every precious job, is doing for them in this time of crisis.
If the current regulations are not amended, then we will be launching a petition to mobilize the public so that jobs can be saved!