Two recent unrelated events prompted this reflection. First: the debate about the government changing visa and travel regulations in an attempt to ease the movement of people, import critical skills and boost tourism numbers. Many people welcomed this policy shift, arguing that the 2015 regulations were ill-considered and responsible for negative growth in the tourism sector. The implementing minister, Malusi Gigaba, received the short end of the stick.

In social media he became a mascot of poor public policy-making, blamed for allegedly ignoring evidence when introducing the 2015 regulations. It didn't matter even to the erudite (who ought to know something about how the state functions) that the policy provision was a cabinet decision, not Gigaba's invention. What is certain from the visa saga is that the 2015 regulations had mixed results and therefore required amendment. The sentiment was clear from industry stakeholders, economists and members of the public. Although publ...

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