Brewer's Droop #274

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I was at the “Whisky and Gin” Festival recently, as a guest of my mate Ken Varejes. At some stage I promised to write more blogs (he’s been a supporter since the very first edition). It was a truly great evening – extremely well organised and loads of different flavours you’ve always wanted to try. The next two events are in Pretoria (Menlyn Park) on 30 May and 01 June, then Durban on 13, 14 and 15 June. Not to be missed!


It’s a well established opinion that the Western Cape (WC) is the best run province in the country – with no thanks to the National Government.

We’re the big thorn in the side of the ANC because we can stop them changing the constitution. Other areas are not so resistant. That’s why the WC has stepped up to the plate and challenging the the latest government stupidity. Because it can.

Government agencies have tried everything. They stopped SAA from flying direct between Cape Town and London for a start – giving the other airlines (BA especially) a “gift” of Billions. What kind of lunatic makes a decision like that? Then, of course Gigaba introduced visa reform to “stop” supposed child trafficking. Pah! They’re just trying to make things difficult for for everyone but especially Capetonians. A bit like shooting off your foot really or cutting off your nose to spite your face.

They encourage impoverished people to move from other areas to the WC (they’re incapable of improving people’s lives themselves). I guess they were hoping to get more ANC votes in the Western Cape. Well, that didn’t work very well did it? (Mind you, the DA suffered too – and rightly so).

Now the National Government (i.e. ANC) via the various tourist authorities, plan to “regulate” (read “strangle”) the Airbnb platform which is prolific in the WC of course. In simple terms they want to stop tourists enjoying cheaper and abundant accommodation and get them into Hotels.

According to Western Cape economic opportunities MEC Beverley Shafer, as reported by Bakezela Phakathi in Business Day, “Over 2 million people have made use of Airbnb alone in this country, and if regulations make it more difficult for travellers to access this kind of accommodation, they will simply vote with their wallets and go elsewhere. We cannot allow this to happen.”

The authorities say they want to “level the playing fields so everyone gets a fair share.” Typical political hype and absolute tripe.

What they want is to herd visitors into hotels. How on earth can you have a “fair share” of virtually two different markets? When one Airbnb charges, say, R500 a night (probably for two people) how can you compare it to, say, a (lower cost) hotel that charges R1,500 (per person)? You can’t. They appeal to different people.

But they seem to have a plan. Perhaps they’ll limit the number of nights a guest can stay at an Airbnb and put a ceiling on what they can charge. They sound determined – which is scary.

It seems to me that the end result will be less Airbnb places (less jobs) because of these bully boy tactics.

Schafer says one set of data shows Airbnb contributed R8.7 billion (yes, billion) in 2017/2018 creating jobs and opportunities for 22,000 people.

Did anyone calculate the REAL total revenue that cheaper accommodation brings? According to government data, tourism’s contribution to SA’s GDP is R136.1 billion. I would suggest that that could be far, far higher if the authorities let free enterprise get on with it.

We want people to come here with their Pounds, Euros and Dollars and spend them at one of the world’s most fabulous destination countries.

We have a capitalist economy – let’s encourage that and not regulate it into extinction with red tape.

A good start would be to sell SAA and dump the thing. I’ll bet the first move the new owners would make is open more direct flights from Cape Town to London and give BA some competition (because they’re milking that cash cow for all it’s worth).

These guys have to stop thinking like bureaucrats and start thinking like businessmen. Honest businessmen.

Enjoy the Whisky and Gin events! HERE


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  1. Isn’t it funny how the government destroys easy valuable assets but won’t move effectively against the evils of violence, hunger and corruption?

    Think I’ll have a Gin! (btw I saw you at the festival but you were deep in conversation – ha ha)

    • You should have come over! Always good to catch up:-)

  2. Chris, as usual – well written. I think we have a money hungry government that only thinks about the next rand it can scrounge from some ridiculous tax.
    My opinion – if we continue on this road we will most certainly end up as another African economic tragedy.
    All said – time for a scotch !!!

    • Make mine a double Fred

  3. Hi Chris,
    Wonderful, as always. Thank you!
    I looked for your name on my ballot paper, recently 😉
    You’d have had my vote on both sheets.

    • Thanks Jason – I might enjoy all those perks but, maybe, I wouldn’t have the gall to keep on claiming and not doing too much for it!

  4. “Thanks Chris.

    Everything you say is correct.

    As concerns the hotel situation , it’s the pressure being put on individuals in the government by the big Groups that is motivating their assault – scared they are going to miss free suites etc.?!! This situation is scandalous as the small units have proved their worth already by generating thousands of jobs ( Cyril are you LISTENING ?) and attracting thousands more tourists because of the much lower rates AND the personalized , friendly service.

    Tourism must be the big , big focal point because of the Rzillions it generates and is the very best way of creating jobs. All we hear is big talk and no sensible action – you have mentioned some of the superb cock-ups.

    Places like Paris/Rome/London/take your pick, each attract more visitors daily than we attract nationally in almost a year !! This is ridiculous when one considers what we have to offer tourists ?

    We have the infrastructure and private corporations who have the capability of extending their facilities by whatever multiple you wish. What is missing is a passionate , dedicated , professional and learned ( people who have the experience and knowledge not cadres ) support from Government.

    Bureaucratic idiocy indeed .”

  5. May I speak from personal experience as a gal who is in her 50’s and would not possibly be given a job in the formal sector? AirBnB allows me to earn an income (no drain on government for handouts) whilst meeting great people from around the world who do NOT want to stay in hotels

    • Good for you. Sadly the officials don’t like that kind of initiative.

  6. The govt. talks about supporting “small business” – what crap. AirbnB an excellent example of small business they SHOULD support. Problem ? The pressure from big groups and confusion as to the manner in which they could rape this industry , they recognize it would be difficult and would require hard work , a real no no. Harry’s comments spot on.


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