The meeting proceeded without the Committee reaching a quorum. Committee reports, the first-term programme and outstanding minutes could therefore not be adopted. Members were; however, encouraged to read through the documents so as to be prepared when they will be adopted at a later meeting.
At the outset, the Chairperson indicated that none of the outstanding reports and minutes could be adopted if there was no quorum. He would only be able to table the documents; but they could only be approved at a later meeting.
Mr D Gumede (ANC) said that it had been a pleasure to work with the Committee during 2009 and hoped that the working relationship would be even better during 2010. The diversity of the Committee in terms of its political mix made interactions so much more robust. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a milestone in the history of South Africa and the Committee had committed itself to making the event a successful one. The better the presentation of the event, the better it was for the country. More exposure meant greater tourism, which in turn meant greater revenue for the country.
It was decided that the meeting would continue despite the fact that there was no quorum.
The Chairperson advised Members to read through the draft Annual Committee Report for 2009 very carefully. The same applied to the draft Joint Oversight Report to Ports of Entry. This had been a joint oversight visit with the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee. The Chairperson stated that he would meet with Mr Ben Martins, Chairperson of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, so that there was consensus between the two Committees regarding the contents of the oversight visit report. He felt that if Members expected to make meaningful contributions when the reports were ready be adopted, they needed to read both reports.
The Committee agreed to adopt the two reports at a later meeting.
The minutes dated the 18 and 25 August 2009 and 1, 8, 15 September 2009 were tabled but could also not be adopted due to the lack of a quorum.
The Chairperson placed the first-term Committee Programme before the Committee. He systematically took Members through the programme. On the 2nd February 2010 the Committee had undertaken an oversight visit to Cape Town International Airport. The aim of the visit was to check on the current state of readiness for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and beyond. The oversight visit would be done jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. Home Affairs had their own reasons for undertaking the oversight visit.
A briefing by the National Department of Tourism and the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) on the 2010 Soccer World Cup was scheduled for 23 February 2010. The Chairperson emphasised the need for the briefing in order to update the Committee on the progress in the tourism sector in respect of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. FEDHASA would also speak to their challenges and readiness.
A briefing by SA Tourism and a briefing by the Department on their Budgets and Strategic Plans for 2010/11 was scheduled for 2 and 9 March 2010 respectively. The briefings were part of the Committee’s oversight work and the organisations’ accountability to Parliament. A strategic planning session was scheduled with the Department for 16 March 2010. The idea behind the planning session was to strategise on focus areas/ programmes for the next five year term.
Mr Gumede was concerned that the time allocated for the planning session was not sufficient.
Ms X Makasi (ANC) suggested that the session could perhaps start at 9am instead of 10am.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) said that it would be difficult for her to make a 9am meeting as she had to catch an early morning flight into Cape Town to make the meeting.
The Chairperson said that the scheduled time of 10am would remain.
Ms M Schinn (DA) asked why the SA Tourism briefing was scheduled before the briefing from the Department of Tourism. The briefing by the Department should take place first as SA Tourism fell under the umbrella of the Department and was funded by them as well. It was therefore only logical that the Department’s briefing take place before SA Tourism’s.
Mr Johann Durand, Director: Parliamentary Office, Department of Tourism, said that he would discuss the issue with the Department. He suggested that the two briefings be given on the same day with the Department presenting first.
Mr Gumede said that it was important for the Committee to know what the mandate of SA Tourism was.
Ms Schinn said that SA Tourism should fit in with the plans of the Department.
The Chairperson was concerned that there would not be enough time for both briefings if both were to be held on the same day.
Mr Durand said that SA Tourism was part of the Department. The issue would be discussed with the Department.
Mr Luvuyo Shasha, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Department of Tourism, supported the suggestion made by Mr Durand that the briefings be held on the same day.
Ms Schinn disagreed. Briefings were usually comprehensive and were time consuming and having both on one day would not be doing justice to either. She suggested that the Committee merely swop the order of the briefings by the Department and SA Tourism. The Department would present on the 2 March 2010, the strategic planning session could be moved to the 9 March 2009 and SA Tourism would present on 16 March 2010.
Mr Gumede responded that the strategic planning session should have taken place on the 29 February 2010. The Department however could only be ready on 16 March 2010. He noted that negotiations with the Chairperson of Committees were taking place on the 16 March 2010. This meant that that day was unavailable for anything else. The Committee would be briefed on 23 March 2010 by the Department on enterprise partnerships.
The Chairperson raised the issue of the 2010 soccer teams choosing cities for their base camps. He said that 25 out of the 36 teams had already chosen Gauteng as their base camp. There was a definite bias in favour of urban areas and big cities. The Committee agreed to look into the matter. Eastern Cape had no teams, while Johannesburg on the other hand had signed many. The City of Cape Town had also signed a few teams. The problem was that small rural areas were not attracting the teams.
Ms T Tshivhase (ANC) asked what criteria were used in allocating base camps.
Mr Gumede pointed out that Diego Maradona, the famous football star and coach of Argentina, had decided his country would be based in Pretoria. Other participating nations such as England, Nigeria and Brazil have selected Rustenburg, Durban and Bloemfontein respectively. The choice of base camp was ultimately the team’s choice. The smaller towns lacked the budgets to market themselves properly. For example, Polokwane did not have a big marketing budget. This was just one of the challenges that needed to be addressed. Even SA Tourism had stated that it was too difficult to promote rural areas. He suggested that perhaps the Government should step in to encourage the promotion of rural areas.
Ms Njobe said that East London had been desperate to host a team. Cameroon had been a possibility but had opted for another area. The location of the base camp was ultimately the choice of the teams. The nature of the tourism industry favoured urban areas.
Mr Shasha felt that the relationship between the Portfolio Committee and its counterpart in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)-the Select Committee on Tourism- was a crucial one. There were instances where the Committee would have crucial meetings with the Department, which the Select Committee would not even be aware of. At the same time there were perhaps issues in the provinces which the Portfolio Committee was not even aware of. The Committee Programme was silent on the correlation of work between the two Committees. He also pointed out that there was nobody marketing tourism at Cape Town International Airport.
The Chairperson responded that the Select Committee on Tourism focussed more on provinces and towns.
Ms Makase said that the Select Committee also had their challenges. They had nine subcommittees; hence, it was very difficult for the Select Committee to meet with the Portfolio Committee.
The Chairperson said that the issue would be addressed. Discussions would be held at the Chairpersons and management level. It was difficult to have joint meetings. The input by Mr Shasha was appreciated.
Mr Gumede said that the issue of promotion of rural areas and their growth would be discussed at the strategic planning session to be held with the Department.
The Committee Programme could not be adopted. The Committee agreed that the briefing by the Department should take place before the briefing by SA Tourism.
Mr Poltina pointed out that that some Committee Members were principle Members in more than one committee. This resulted in Members being spread between Committees. It should not be the case.
The Chairperson said that the Committee Whip would look into the matter.
Ms Makasi said that she had spoken to the Deputy Chief Whip over the issue and he had assured her that the issue would be addressed.
The Chairperson said that the issue had to be resolved as the Committee could not function without having a quorum of Members.
The meeting was adjourned.
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