• The window to comment on – or object to – the draft Tourism Amendment Bill that could limit Airbnb in South Africa closed last week.
  • On Tuesday new tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane added another month.
  • The draft law has drawn sharp criticism from some quarters for seeking to impose limits or regulations on Airbnb hosts in South Africa.
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On Tuesday new tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane extended by a month the window for comments on the draft Tourism Amendment Bill – after that comment period had technically ended last week.

First published in mid-April by then tourism minister Derek Hanekom, the draft law came with a standard 60-day comment period that was not extended despite immediate criticism and urgent meetings

But in an updated notice published in the Government Gazette, Kubayi-Ngubane said she would accept comments until 15 July 

The proposed amendment is seen as former communications and science and technology minister Kubayi-Ngubane's first test in her new portfolio. 

See also: A direct flight between Cape Town and the US is a start – now let’s not kill Airbnb please

The draft law is controversial for stepping into what Hanekom described as "the regulatory vacuum on short-term rentals". If enacted in its current form, it would allow the minister of tourism to set thresholds on short-term holiday rentals – such as a maximum number of nights Airbnb customers would be allowed to stay, or the maximum amount of money Airbnb hosts are allowed to make.

That proposal was warmly welcomed by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, which said the lack of regulation for Airbnb accommodation made for unfair competition with hotels.

The idea has been bitterly opposed by organisations that say it will impose unfair burdens on tourism entrepreneurs and others that argued promoting tourism would be better served by reducing the regulatory burden on traditional establishments rather than shackling the likes of Airbnb.

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