Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister David Maynier says he will continue to apply the necessary pressure to secure a triangular route for US airline Delta Air Lines between Atlanta, Georgia, in the US, and Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Delta had applied to operate a triangular route between Atlanta, Johannesburg and Cape Town in May 2021. The application has yet to be processed, despite "being urgent precisely because tourism is a significant contributor to job creation and economic growth in the Western Cape", Maynier points out.
He says it is disappointed and alarmed at the continued silence of Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on the matter.
"After receiving no substantive response to seven separate letters over six months directly from my office to Minister Mbalula, I was left with no choice but to launch an intergovernmental dispute in a bid to resolve this urgent matter, on November 25, 2021.
"On February 21, I received a letter from the Minister requesting additional time to respond to the matter. In the interest of cooperative governance, I granted him an extra 15 days, which lapsed at midnight on March 16.
"I had sincerely hoped that we would have been able to resolve this urgent matter in this time," says Maynier.
He says he has been left with no choice but to reinstitute an intergovernmental dispute.
"The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act dictates that we must now promptly convene a meeting with the Minister or his representative, in order to determine the precise nature of the dispute, identify available mechanisms or procedures, other than judicial proceedings, that may assist in the settling of the disputes at hand, and agree on an appropriate mechanism or procedure to settle the disputes at hand and when and how such mechanism or procedure shall be implemented," he explains.
According to the Western Cape government’s destination marketing organisation Wesgro, the estimated economic losses of this decision could total R420-million, and include a R278-million loss in tourism spending, a R13-million loss in landing and passenger fees for Airports Company of South Africa and a R130-million loss in air cargo export value.
In addition, 160 local jobs will be lost for the Western Cape economy.