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By Manny de Freitas MP – DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
The DA strongly condemns the ANC government’s reckless and detrimental love affair with Russia, which is causing severe economic consequences for our country. The recent loss of South Africa’s bid to host a Formula 1 race at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit is a glaring example of the negative impact created by the ANC’s partisan ties with Russia.
The cancellation of the planned South African Grand Prix is a direct result of the ANC government’s irresponsible and illogical international geopolitical decisions. This event would have been a tremendous opportunity to showcase our nation’s capabilities and attract global attention. However, due to our government’s alignment with Russia, this opportunity has been squandered.
Hosting Formula 1 events has proven to be a significant tourism magnet, with host countries experiencing an average increase in tourism demand of 6%. For instance, Malaysia’s F1 race in 2016 resulted in nearly 500,000 tourist arrivals and generated over R7 billion in additional revenue for the country. Similarly, the Circuit of the Americas in the United States has brought in over $7 billion in economic benefits and created more than 64,000 jobs annually.
The cancellation of the South African Grand Prix not only robs our country of potential economic gains but also denies us the chance to showcase our rich cultural heritage and world-class infrastructure. Other countries, such as Singapore and Mexico, have reaped tremendous benefits from hosting F1 races, with significant increases in hotel occupancy and tourist spending.
It is disheartening to note that South Africa was once a regular host of the Grand Prix until the apartheid regime faced international opposition. Since 1993, there have been numerous attempts to bring F1 back to South Africa, but the government’s lack of interest in funding this lucrative event has prevented its return.
The DA will be tabling a statement in the National Assembly to shed light on the consequences and missed opportunities resulting from the ANC government’s irresponsible decisions. We must hold the government accountable for the negative impact it has created, not only in the realm of international relations but also on our economy.
South Africa cannot afford to be isolated and shunned by the international community due to misguided political alliances. The ANC must prioritize the best interests of our country and its citizens above all else. We call on the government to reconsider its harmful ties with Russia and work towards fostering positive relationships that promote economic growth, tourism, and international cooperation.
The DA remains committed to advancing the interests of all South Africans and ensuring responsible governance that puts the prosperity of our nation first. We will continue to hold the ANC accountable for their detrimental decisions and fight for a brighter future for South Africa.
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