• Hlanganani Gumbi

Fight back against ‘Kill Airbnb Bill’ which will increase unemployment

The new law set to target Airbnb, cloak named the Tourism Amendment Bill is dangerous and threatens many of our towns and cities which benefit from tourism. Mayors and Premiers of the coastal KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape for instance, who care about the thousands of jobs at risk by this bad piece of law should be preparing their governments for an intergovernmental dispute (i.e. a fight) with national government to protect their residents.

Let’s be clear, targeting Airbnb means you target all online marketing platform which compete to bring better quality, prices and services to people looking for accommodation. It means you target Trivago,, Lekkeslaap, Perfect Hideaways and others. Worse of all, you target the thousands of home owners who are making a small living from the money they make, including many other established bed and breakfasts, guest houses and boutique hotels. The ‘Kill Airbnb Bill’ essentially targets a growing middle class and all those who strive to make it in the middle class.

And where is the ANC in all of this? Where is the party that says they are fighting for inclusion for the previously excluded? Where is the party that wants jobs and more people to benefit from the economy? Sadly, deadly quiet, pushing through a law which will strike a hole through an economy already battling.

With new statistics showing the rise of unemployment, with more than 10 million South Africans without a job, any rational government would make fundamental changes and reforms to get the economy going again. But not this ANC government.

We need to reject this bad piece of legislation which gives the Minister of Tourism vague powers to, “Put thresholds on short term home rentals” without any clarity about what that means.

Sadly, in this entire debacle, 65% of home owners on Airbnb are women, 82% of guests say they are more likely to return due to Airbnb with 95% of hosts recommending local businesses to their guests. In South Africa alone, we have had 65% of year on year growth since Airbnb’s arrival. There is a changing, innovating and more dynamic tourism sector which is creating more jobs than mining. We need to encourage it to grow and make it easier to be an entrepreneur.

When you have year on year growth of guest arrivals into your city, making your residents better, as a mayor you should be concerned about the actions of the national government. Where is ANC Mayor Zandile Gumede to fight for the 106% new arrivals in Durban? Why is MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube quiet on this, or even the Premier? Who is this ANC government fighting for?

Parliament has a responsibility to make laws which improve people’s lives and look after the marginalised. We must legislate to make it easier for business to grow and for new jobs to be created. We must legislate to have an inclusive economy. This law does not do that and the ANC has not given a single rational reason about why we should have it in place.

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