Meeting SummaryThe Ministry of Sports and Recreation, responsible for coordinating the 17 FIFA guarantees, was more than confident that South Africa was ready. The presentation concentrated on details about its mass mobilisation campaign for all nine provinces and how the legacy projects would benefit South Africa based on the €6 million allocated by FIFA to benefit sport infrastructure in the sub-Saharan region. The legacy project report auditing all the projects to be undertaken would be released in August 2010.
The Minister of Tourism said that the World Cup was a very important event but it should never be viewed as a “be all and end all”. The real value of the World Cup was in its long-term value for the country. This was a tremendous opportunity to market the country and ensure that tourists coming for the event become repeat visitors. The Department of Tourism presented its state of preparedness in the areas of marketing, accommodation, information, skills and service excellence and regional spread. The Department was confident that there was sufficient accommodation to cater for all the tourists. There were 18 882 accommodation establishments listed on its database which equated to 202 712 rooms. These establishments had been graded and catered for all price ranges.
The Department of Transport gave an update on its operational plans for the World Cup, reporting that it was on course to delivering on its agreement with FIFA to provide reliable and safe transport services to spectators attending the event.
The Minister of Home Affairs said her Department’s main priority was to facilitate the movement of people through all the ports of entry. The Department had initiated several plans to achieve this and was well on track to deliver on this mandate.
The Department of Health spoke on its key focus areas for the World Cup. These included emergency, medical, environmental health and hospital services. The Department was ready for the provision of emergency health services and had drawn from a variety of sources to increase staff capacity. There were still a few challenges outstanding but these were being addressed.
Topics raised during the wide-ranging discussion included:
▪ The legacy projects and their impact on the rural areas
▪ Concern that the stadiums might become white elephants
▪ Whether the stadiums catered for disabled people
▪ The provincial road shows had cost R12 million but had benefited only 35 000 people
▪ The number of public viewing areas
▪ The state of accommodation for the visiting teams
▪ Allegation about World Cup malpractices in Beaufort West
▪ Marketing strategy lacked an African touch
▪ Expected number of foreign visitors had been reduced from 500 000 to 300 000
▪ South African Airways pricing structure had made it expensive for tourists to visit the country
▪ Effects of World Cup on Small Medium Micro Enterprises (SMMEs)
▪ MATCH cancellation of many accommodation sites after decreased international ticket sales
▪ Expanded Public Works Programme should clean up cities and heritage sites
▪ Selling SA as a tourist destination to more than 34 billion viewers
▪ The ‘park and ride’ services aimed at reducing traffic congestion might not be up to scratch
▪ How the 4000 taxi operators providing ‘park and ride’ services had been chosen
▪ Western Cape taxi industry negotiations
▪ The state of the roads and the transport system commended
▪ Road signage needed to be improved
▪ Some ports of entry had staff shortages
▪ Non-smiling immigration officers needed hospitality training
▪ The Rift Valley Fever misdiagnosis
▪ Enough ambulance drivers in the Eastern Cape and general catch up needed there
▪ Potential labour stayaways.
Mr Khompela in his opening remarks said that what was critical to Members of Parliament was the Legacy Project and the benefits of the 2010 for all South Africans.
Sports and Recreation Ministry presentation
The Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen, said he was more than confident that South Africa was ready. His department had been responsible for coordinating the 17 guarantees. In 2009, this had involved all relevant departments reporting monthly and then fortnightly on challenges and progress made to the technical coordinating committee, which was an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Deputy President. He reminded the meeting that South Africa had had 21 days to put together the Indian Premier League in 2009 and it had been a massive success. In his presentation he wanted to concentrate on the mass mobilisation campaign and the legacy project. Since 2009 they had toured all nine provinces on a mass mobilisation roadshows that concentrated on the rural areas. R12 million was spent on road shows and 35 000 people in rural areas were mobilised and made aware of the benefits. Their key focus was on rural areas that did not have direct access to attending matches or mass viewing areas. He referred to the thousands of schools that had currently been involved in a football competition and referred the Committees to the presentation for details. They did have budget constraints so member states were asked to assist with mass mobilisation throughout Africa. A project “A Strong Africa” was launched in Rwanda which formed part of the legacy project to use football to promote life skills, peace and nation building. They celebrated Nigeria and Algeria’s World Cup qualification with exhibitions in those countries and in France in cooperation with the Department of Arts and Culture.
With a department budget of only R3.5 million for advertising, they concentrated on billboards. He pointed out that his department was not responsible for advertising. Their task to coordinate the guarantees so government could deliver on its mandate. Advertising was the function and mandate of the Local Organising Committee. His department had also distributed promotional material and sports equipment at strategic points such as universities. There had been an exhibition in Parliament on the day of the Sports and Recreation budget speech. They had had Bafana Bafana creating support at the rugby game at Loftus Versveld that past week and the support had been wonderful. They would also use the Comrades Marathon for mass mobilisation and creating an awareness for the World Cup. He noted that mass mobilisation could not be the responsibility of one department but all of them. He referred to the spread of the popular “diski dance”, the growing number of commercial adverts referring to the World Cup and the memorabilia growing support for 2010 such as Football Friday shirts which were running short. Mass mobilisation was really taking root. In the immediate run-up to the event it was important to get South Africans to take ownership of this event. This was so they could deliver a memorable experience to visitors to ensure they would come back, and demonstrate our nation’s pride and entrench our South African-ness. He referred to the International Marketing Council that had taken on a lot of mass mobilisation activities.
He noted that the Chair had mentioned the legacy project. The Ministry has requested Sports Recreation South Africa to do a legacy audit as there were so many things happening in 2010. It would be narrow minded to say only what SRSA and the government had done would count as part of the legacy project. The department has signed an implementation agreement for the “Youth Development Through Sport” programme in line with their objectives to have a healthy nation and to increase participation in sport. The €6 million allocated by FIFA to benefit sport infrastructure as a legacy for the sub-Saharan region would provide development and change the lives of South Africans through increased sport participation. One could see the training SRSA provided was giving the necessary spin-offs. Other sports were also benefiting. There was increased football development and support to clubs and schools. One would also end up after the World Cup with a much better understanding by South Africans of our symbols. The result would be a more united Africa and also a more united South Africa. There was also the advancement of African priorities through the African Development Goals. They had with the United Nations launched the “8 Goals for Africa” song campaign as part of the legacy of growing international partnerships to achieve these objectives.
Mass mobilisation was a national initiative which all had embraced to ensure the success of this event. There had been a rebirth of national pride – flags on the cars and in the streets. He was confident that South Africa was ready to welcome the world. Yes, there was always a learning curve. Yes, there was always room for improvement but he could confidently say that what they had took on to do, they had done. When DTI was told it must ensure a percentage of the spend on Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) – it had been done – they had a report on this. They had done well as a country and they should claim ownership and be proud to be a South African. “When we said we would be ready on time, we have been”.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) thanked the Deputy Minister of Sports for the information shared. However, her major concern was what would happen to the stadiums once the World Cup was over. “Are we not going to have white elephants all over the country after having spent billions of rand in constructing them?”
Mr L Khoarai (ANC) was bothered by the visibility and distribution of billboards. It differed from area to area. It would have been better if the Committees were told how decisions were made to determine the type of billboard and locations best suited for affixing billboards.
Deputy Minister Oosthuizen replied that some cities had done well in erecting billboards and that perhaps other could learn from those cities that had excelled. Rustenburg was cited as an example of a host city that had done very well in putting together a winning branding strategy. The department was doing a follow up to identify and help those cities which had struggled to put together a sound branding strategy for the World Cup. He did believe that the branding and erecting of billboards was not a responsibility of the Ministry of Sports. The role of the ministry was supportive in nature. For example, mass mobilisation and raising awareness, conducting promotional activities, distributing flags and creating social cohesion around the World Cup. Perhaps the Local Organising Committee could answer the questions on visibility or lack thereof of billboards.
Mr Khoarai asked about the status of the legacy projects and the areas that had been targeted for these so that an oversight visit could be made. One would also pray that the beneficiaries were distributed evenly across the country, particularly in the marginalised areas so that they could be left with something to cherish after the World Cup.
The Deputy Minister replied that the issue of neglected rural areas had cropped up several times from different sectors of society. The Department of Sports had been assured that a total of 100 multi-purpose sporting facilities would be built around the country and that a fair number of them would be built in rural areas. Five of those sporting facilities were set to be completed before World Cup kick-off.
Mr Khoarai said he hoped the €6 million allocated by FIFA towards youth development initiatives would not be channelled towards the payment of bonuses for the SAFA top brass. South African soccer administrators were known to be very quick in giving themselves lucrative performance bonuses and one wondered if a portion of that money would not be used for such. It would help to receive detailed information detailing when, where and how those development initiatives would take place.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) expressed concern that the Eastern Cape, despite having a host city and being one of the poorest provinces, had been allocated the smallest amount towards its youth development programmes to benefit the young people of the province. It would have been helpful to hear what formula was used in the allocation of the funds.
Mr L Suka (ANC) thanked the Deputy Minister for the informative presentation. A lot had been done but there was still room for improvement. The legacy project and its impact in the rural areas was of interest to the Committee, and the Committee could not wait for the legacy project report to be issued so that it could be scrutinised.
Mr D Lee (DA) remarked that he was eagerly looking forward to interrogating the legacy project report, which would be released in August.
The Deputy Minister confirmed that the audit report was underway and members were going to have a chance to go through the details in the report and engage with those involved in the work reflected in the report.
Ms Njobe questioned the whereabouts of the “Bafana Bafana” giant t-shirt. It was advertised long ago and Parliament was told it would have an opportunity to sign it. Members were looking forward to having their signatures affixed to the t-shirt. The diski dance initiative deserved to be praised and more South Africans needed to be encouraged to take part in the game.
An official from the Ministry of Sports, accompanying the Deputy Minister, said that the giant t-shirt was on its way and it was presently in Mpumalanga.
The Chairperson instructed the department to ensure that the t-shirt reached Parliament before it rose on 4 June 2010. It was important for the t-shirt to come to the leaders of the country and that should happen even if it meant jumping the queue ahead of other cities.
Ms Njobe suggested that Parliament should publicise the movement of the t-shirt to the public.
Ms E Thabethe (ANC) said she was not convinced that the stadiums all around the country fully catered for disabled people. It was more even worrying that the department did not comment at all about how it planned to address the needs of the disabled.
Mr J Van Der Linde (DA) recalled from the presentation a declaration that only 35 000 people had benefited from the programmes which were funded from the R12 million which was allocated by the Department of Sports. It seemed as if the balance between the money allocated and the people who were reached did not sound right. One would have expected many more South Africans to have benefited.
The Deputy Minister noted the suggestions made and asked the Committee to allow him more time to look into the question of the disabled, with a promise to provide an honest answer at a later stage rather than to attempt to answer without the relevant facts.
Mr S Farrow (DA) recalled when the Minister had previously suggested that his budget for 2010 World Cup activities was going to be challenged as too much. Nevertheless, the opposite was true, taking into account the branding and advertising the department needed to engage in. R3,5 million rand was simply too little for adequate advertising.
Mr Van Der Linde said the selection of “ball boys” and the distribution of free World Cup t-shirts to school children did not amuse him. A particular school in the Southern Cape had been nominated to be one of the beneficiaries of tickets - only to be replaced by another school in Cape Town. The reason for the replacement was that the school was too far from the soccer venue but that was not very convincing.
The Deputy Minister replied that it was important to remember that the tournament belonged to FIFA. All the government did was to convince FIFA that it had the conditions and environment to host it. FIFA on the other hand had other partners and sponsors for the tournament. Coca Cola was one of those sponsors and government had no control whatsoever on how Coca Cola distributed its free charity tickets. The lines were clear as far as how government could move. It was out of order for the government to tell the sponsors how to distribute their tickets!
Mr Radebe voiced his concern about the shortage of public viewing areas. He urged the department to do more in prioritising rural areas by increasing public viewing areas there so that more people could feel part of the World Cup. The Department of Sports and Recreation had been praised for its programme of distributing flags and vuvuzelas to various parts of the country. However, the concern was that there were no World Cup billboards at three of the country’s border gates – namely Mpumalanga, Lesotho and Namibia. The Ministry was also asked to explain the relationship between and roles of FIFA, the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Local Organising Committee as far as the event was concerned.
Mr Radebe appealed to the Deputy Minister to make an arrangement for the World Cup trophy to be brought to Parliament before the kick-off.
Mr Gumede asked the Deputy Minister to put the Committees at ease about the state of accommodation for the visiting teams. Rumours had surfaced that certain teams had problems with accommodation.
The Deputy Minister confirmed that the Nigerian and German national teams had had minor problems. The Nigerian team had complained about noise levels emanating from nearby busy roads. The team was subsequently moved to another quieter hotel. As for the German team, they expressed interest in staying in a hotel that had not been granted a licence to operate and so the South African Police Service could not promise to offer security services. They were working at granting the hotel a temporary permit because the Germans insisted on staying at that particular hotel.
Ms Zikalala said she heard on the radio that there was nothing at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Cape Town which suggested that the country was about to host a major event. She appealed to all Members to step up and lead the campaign. Programmes such as Football Friday were exemplary of initiatives which every South African needed to partake in. She praised the Co-Chairperson Ms Thabethe who was wearing South African football colours, saying she was a leading example of what she meant.
Mr Lee said he had heard storied about malpractices in Beaufort West concerning World Cup activities. In light of such allegations, it was important to emphasise that no one was allowed to take advantage of the tournament and benefit at the expense of communities which were supposed to benefit. It was therefore important that the legacy report be completed as soon as possible so that some of those reported irregularities could be followed up.
The Deputy Minister said he would not want to comment on the rumour. The Honourable Member was free to raise these concerns formally with the Ministry and appropriate action would be taken.
Tourism Ministry presentation
Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism, highlighted that it was important for Members to understand and distinguish between the responsibilities of government and that of the Local Organising Committee (LOC). Very often people criticised government and its entities unfairly. The LOC was responsible for marketing the 2010 World Cup while government, through the Department of Tourism and its agency, South Africa Tourism, was responsible for marketing the country. This distinction also applied to many other government departments and entities.
The global tourism industry had experienced considerable growth over the years. The figures showed that in 1950 there were only 25 million international arrivals. By 2009 this figure had expanded to 880 million, and in 2020 this figure was expected to reach 1,6 billion. South Africa had to take advantage of any opportunity to position itself to become a major beneficiary of this “massive and impressive” growth.
The Minister mentioned that after Cabinet had adopted the air-lift strategy, the number of airliners flying into South Africa had increased dramatically. There were now 50 airliners flying to and from the country. That translated into 230 000 aircraft landings (flights) per year and 33 million passengers.
The World Cup was a very important event but it should never be viewed as a “be all and end all”. The real value of the World Cup was in its long-term value for the country. This was a tremendous opportunity to market the country and ensure that tourists coming for the events become repeat visitors. Therefore, one should not measure the World Cup only in terms of what happened between 11 June and 11 July 2010.
In 1994, South Africa only had 600 000 international arrivals. In 2009 this figure had increased to 9,9 million and was expected to exceed10 million this year. There were many different statistics and projections put forward by different entities about the number of tourists that would be arriving for the World Cup. It was very difficult to give a precise number because not all the data needed to make the projection was disclosed by FIFA. However, in terms of its own analysis, the Department expected in the region of 300 000 international arrivals. This figure was less than what was originally projected four years ago but at that stage nobody had predicted the global economic recession. Nevertheless, the Department was confident that many people would be coming, the stadiums would be full and that this was going to be an exceptionally good World Cup.
The Minister stated that the concept of seasonal rates was an internationally accepted practice. The period of the World Cup was normally low season for the country but would now be considered high season. The Department had carried out a survey on pricing in the hospitality industry and did not believe that it was as big a problem as many had made it out to be. The industry was responsible in this regard.
Mr Victor Tharage, Deputy Director-General, Department of Tourism, said that the Department together with SA Tourism and other stakeholders had focused on the five areas of marketing, accommodation, information, skills and service excellence and regional spread.
As part of its strategy, SA Tourism had created several video clips to promote the event. These clips were aired on some of the international news channels and had been well received.
In terms of accommodation, the Department had 18 882 establishments listed on its database. This equated to 202 712 available rooms. These establishments had been graded and catered for all price ranges. The Department was confident that there was sufficient accommodation to cater for all the tourists.
A number of establishments had signed contracts with MATCH. Some of the contracts did not yield the desired results because MATCH was not just selling accommodation, but packaged services. As a result, MATCH had to release some of the accommodation that went unsold. Thus 49% (516 000 room nights) of releases had been made in non-host cities, which included inventory contracted outside of South Africa (114 000) due to no or little interest. Likewise, 534 000 room nights in host cities had been released and 47% of these releases were “outside” of the World Cup period.
To address the industry concern, the Department had created an alternative accommodation sales platform with the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA). Establishments were now able to advertise their accommodation on a purpose built South African online real time accommodation listing and booking portal at www.Rooms4u.travel. It was a tool for all accommodation service providers to get to market on the web real time and gain exposure to potential web customers.
An independent survey of the hospitality industry showed that in general, the industry had practiced responsible and fair pricing for the event. Other findings were as follows:
• 74% of all establishments had charged a 50% premium or less.
• A total of 48% of establishments would not be charging a premium at all.
• 27% of establishments would not even be charging a premium on their lowest 2010 rate.
• Only 26% intended to charge 50% more than their highest normal 2010 rates.
• Department and industry had consistently encouraged consumers to shop around
Lastly, he outlined the Department’s strategy for information sharing, skills and service excellence transfer and regional spread. On the latter point, he emphasised that while South Africa was hosting the event, it was important that other African countries also participated and benefited from it.
Prince B Zulu (ANC) said the marketing strategy adopted by the Tourism Department did not give an outright indication that the event was an historic African event. One would have expected a marketing strategy that tapped into the history, heritage, culture and diversity of South Africans in general but not a lot of that was visible from the presentations.
Mr D Gumede (ANC) asked the Minister to give an indication of how many foreign visitors were expected in the country.
Minister Van Schalkwyk said four years ago, when the right to organise the World Cup was given to South Africa, it was projected that over 500 000 foreign tourists were going to visit the country for the event. However, after the recent economic recession, those projections made four years previously could not be used. At present, the projected number of tourists expected to visit the country was around 300 000.
In reply to a question about how Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) would benefit during and after the World Cup tournament, Minister Van Schalkwyk said that the issue of SMMEs and the legacy of the World Cup would best be explained by the Department of Trade and Industry.
A Democratic Alliance member raised concern about the South African Airways pricing structure. SAA was charging its customers three times more than normal during the World Cup period, thus making it very expensive for tourists to visit the country.
Minister Van Schalkwyk said he was aware of the dilemma and his department had been very critical about the decision to hike prices in that manner. A complaint had been referred to the Competition Tribunal and the matter was being investigated and hopefully it was going to be resolved soon.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) said MATCH FIFA had caused people in the Limpopo province to spend a lot of money after being promised that there would be a huge demand for their bed and breakfast accommodation facilities. After investing extensively in those bed and breakfast facilities, they were later told that the projected numbers of visitors had dropped due to the impact of recession. FIFA had a clause in the contract to release the previously booked facilities without incurring any penalty whatsoever.
Minister Van Schalkwyk said his department had been very cautious, right from the beginning, in warning people not to raise their expectations too much by thinking that they would be super rich after the World Cup event. People were warned to invest wisely and take into account that the world economies were recovering from the impact of recession.
The problem, said the Minister, was the nature of the contract which FIFA MATCH officials had concluded with government. The contract contained an escape clause, meaning they were allowed to pull-out at any given time without running the risk of being sued for damages. What then happened was that many accommodation sites which were initially booked, were cancelled after it emerged that there were problems in selling tickets.
Ms D Dlakude (ANC) added that the Department of Tourism should not be ashamed to show off South Africans eating their traditional food, and should even encourage foreign visitors to experience some of the food that South Africans eat.
Ms Thabethe asked the Minister of Tourism to give a breakdown of how local South Africans would impact on the tourism industry. Domestic tourism remained a critical powerhouse of tourism in the country and it would be unfortunate if this were completely ignored.
Minister van Schalkwyk remarked that it would be a huge mistake to ignore the impact of the domestic tourism market. There were different marketing campaign strategies, and one of those was geared towards domestic tourism. A huge percentage of soccer tickets were bought by local South Africans and Africans in general. The statistics released by MATCH FIFA reflected that more tickets could have been bought here on the African continent had it not been for the FIFA ticketing procedure which played a huge role in preventing people from purchasing tickets. Many people in Africa did not have easy access to the internet which was the main method used by FIFA to sell their tickets.
A Democratic Alliance member complained that many cities had declined to the point where the attractiveness of those cities for tourism purposes had been diminished. The question was whether the department might consider teaming up with Expanded Public Works Programme in cleaning up some of the cities. Various heritage sites across the country were also in an appalling condition for use as tourist destinations. Again, would it be possible with limited time, for the Tourism Department to team up with the Arts and Culture Department to salvage what was left for tourism?
Mr G Krumbock (DA) wondered if there had been arrangements similar to those that had been made during the 2009 Indian Premier League (IPL) held in South Africa where presenters and commentators were encouraged to pass positive comments about the country during short breaks or when they were having a chit-chat with each other. Such informal discussion where a commentator passed a positive comment about the country could go a long way in marketing the country and its potential to attract tourists even post 2010.
Minister van Schalkwyk replied that a media strategy was being worked on to have footage which would be broadcast to more than 34 billion viewers across the world during the event. The footage would be screened before the matches, during half time and after the matches.
Transport Ministry presentation
Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, Minister of Transport, stated that all transport plans had been finalised. The Department had engaged with Africa through the “6 pack” and Southern African Development Community (SADC). The “6 pack” represented the six participating African countries at the World Cup. The six African participants would receive reports on their travel arrangements. The reports would be handed over at a meeting to be held in Ghana. A programme would also be drawn up in connection with travel arrangements for Very Important Persons (VIPs) and the fans. SADC would be briefed at a special meeting on 28 May 2010 in Pemba Mozambique. The meeting would take into consideration the estimated numbers of fans, the modes of transport to be utilised and the roadworthiness of vehicles carrying fans that will pass through the SADC countries destined for South Africa. Countries and religious groups were also organising support structures for travelling fan. For example, there was an initiative called the Welcome World Cup 2010 Muslim Initiative and the British Supporters Association (BSA). These organisations would assist fans on where appropriate eating and prayer establishments were located. These organisations were very active especially in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
The Department had entered into an agreement with FIFA to provide an effective, reliable and safe transport services to the spectators attending the World Cup. The Department was on course to provide on its mandate as promised. The legacy of the World Cup would be most visible in the transport infrastructure. All the airports had also been upgraded. The South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) was responsible for national roads and in some cases had assisted the host cities/provinces. Host cities were responsible for local access roads with funding from the Public Transport Infrastructure and System Grant.
Where road construction was not completed; the process would be suspended until after the tournament to enable easier movement. The Gautrain would be operational between OR Tambo, Johannesburg CBD and Sandton during the World Cup. There were 308 scheduled trains operating for Shosholoza Meyl. Huge infrastructure projects had been done on the aviation front, these include the OR Tambo International Airport, the King Shaka International Airport and the Cape Town International Airport. The Department of Transport had appointed a service provider to administer the procurement, operation, and management of the inter-provincial and regional transport of spectators for the FIFA World Cup. There had been a delivery of 520 buses and the drivers had been trained in customer relations. All the host cities had contracted the taxi industry to provide services. The total number of taxis that would be utilised was 4117. The Command and Call Centre would be operational from 1 June 2010 to 31 July 2010. It would operate from Gauteng. The Web Portal “Find Your Way 2010” was currently operational. It provided updated traffic and transport information.
Ms Thabethe praised the Minister of Transport for the way he had presented his case during the national television programme “Asikhulume” where the topic had been about the country’s state of readiness with regard to transport during the World Cup period.
Minister Ndebele welcomed the praise, and pointed out that the point he was trying to make during the programme was that the department wanted to ensure that South Africa provided one of the best World Cups ever in history and the Transport Department had a pivotal role in that regard. Be that as it may, the focus of the Department of Transport was to look beyond the 2010 World Cup. The programmes of the department were geared to continuing the work that was started by the previous ministers of transport in mapping out the development of a transport system that would transform South Africa and match the standards of many developed countries.
Mr Radebe complained that the ‘park and ride’ services aimed at reducing traffic congestion did not seem to be up to scratch. During the Confederations Cup this service had a lot of problems that needed to be corrected. Could the Minister of Transport assure the Committees that the ‘park and ride’ service would be effective during the World Cup tournament?
A Congress of the People (COPE) member welcomed the presentations from both departments, saying they were well prepared and detailed. The only worry however was that all the presentations had not identified any challenges! It was not realistic to imagine that there were no challenges that faced the departments in terms of World Cup preparations and its legacy.
Mr Radebe asked the department to explain whether the African teams that had qualified to participate would be afforded any preferential treatment. It would have been nice if there were some sort of VIP status, even on the roads, given to the African teams that were representing Africa during the tournament. In Cape Town, for instance, it was known that the Western Cape Premier did not want to afford anyone VIP privilege but perhaps the national department needed to discuss the issue with the Premier of the Western Cape to make that arrangement possible.
Mr B Goqwana (ANC) asked the Minister of Transport to explain whether the reported 4000 taxi operators that had been contracted to offer their services for World Cup purposes were the only beneficiaries out of the entire taxi industry. What criteria had been used to choose which taxi operators would provide the ‘park and ride’ service.
Minister Ndebele replied that the figure of around 4000 taxi operators which had been contracted to play a role in offering ‘park and ride’ services did not include yet the Western Cape taxi industry. The negotiations with the principals of the Cape Town taxi businesses were still ongoing but were due to be concluded soon.
In reply to the question on what criteria was used, the Minister said the department approached taxi operators who had used specific routes to avoid a potential problem if, for instance, operators from a different route were to used along those specific routes.
Minister Ndebele assured the Committees that the department has had constructive engagements with the Cape taxi industry and a positive announcement was on the cards. Both parties understood the need to work towards a common goal to deliver a spectacular service to both South African and foreign visitors during and after World Cup. The infrastructural development programme would be accelerated after the World Cup.
Dr Goqwana said that while he appreciated the effort by the Tourism Department in putting together its marketing programme, to him the challenge was that the presentation and the events lacked an African touch and feeling. There was very little to suggest that this was a World Cup staged on the African continent.
Mr S Farrow (DA) commended the Minister and the department for leading various positive campaigns and ensuring that the state of the roads and the transport system was able to provide a safe, reliable and efficient transport service during the World Cup. A suggestion was made for the department to consider promoting a lights-on campaign during the soccer event.
Prince Zulu noted that almost all the country’s airports were in a very good shape. However, there were a few glitches and potential health hazard concern at the newly renovated Cape Town International and the new King Shaka Airport in KwaZulu Natal. Another concern was that after the renovations, there seemed to be a prolonged walking stretch at Cape Town International that would inconvenience especially the disabled.
Ms Dlakude was concerned that the department did not seem to have a long-term solution to the challenges facing the taxi industry. Many operators were complaining that their vehicles were continually being impounded and their licences not renewed. The issue of signage continued to cause confusing especially in places such as Limpopo where there had been name changes of certain places.
Minister Ndebele said the signage problem was being addressed and given priority especially in Polokwane and Bloemfontein. The taxi industry in Cape Town had met with department officials and progress was being made. It had emerged that many had not understood what their role would be during the World Cup. The department had used the engagements to explain to every taxi association that there was a slice for everyone to take home during the World Cup. Many had thought the only way to participate in the activities of the event was through being contracted to offer park and ride services.
Mr Komphela pleaded with Minister Ndebele to resolve the issue of road signage, especially those areas that had experienced name changes over the last few years. There were certain places that had signage which still carried old names that had been replaced and no longer used on the maps. This had the potential to cause confusion amongst visitors. He suggested that they use road signage which carried both the old and the new names at the same time.
The Director General, Mr George Mahlalela, said there was overall consensus that signage in general needed to be improved. There were problems about signage in general and signage specifically for the World Cup. As for the World Cup, the department had developed guidelines which had been forwarded to municipalities which were expected to start posting signs for specific identified sites.
Ministry of Home Affairs presentation
Ms Nkosazana Zuma, Minister of Home Affairs, was accompanied by Mr Jacob Mamabolo (Managing 2010 Project) and Mr Reuben Matlokolo (Director in the Ports), stated that South Africa had been blessed to host the World Cup on behalf of Africa and the diaspora. The Department of Home Affairs facilitated the movement of people and was responsible for issuing visas to the FIFA family and to ensure that they were able to visit the country unhindered. For countries that did not require visas for South Africa, the Department dealt only with their passports. However, for those countries that needed visas, the Department would issue their citizens with two visas: a normal visit which they have to pay for and a special visa (known as an event visa) to those who had purchased World Cup tickets. The Department was working with the police and Interpol to ensure that soccer hooligans and undesirable persons were prevented from entering the country.
Work permits would be granted to those who have come to the country to do any World Cup related work. The Department has been issuing work permits on request and the process had been going well. Priority treatment was given to FIFA delegations, national teams and other accredited persons. What this meant was that at the airport the Department would have dedicated lanes for those categories of people.
All visitors coming to South Africa, whether as part of the FIFA family, national teams or supporters would be given priority treatment at the country‘s ports of entry. The Department had established Core Located Borders at the land ports of country. This was designed to limit the queues.
The Department would also provide 24 hour support together with the country‘s security personnel and South African missions abroad. A new Movement Control technology system had been launched at OR Tambo International Airport which would be rolled out to both land ports and airports. The new system would be useful to gather information for security obligations and would enable the Department to have information available in time.
The Department was currently in discussion with neighbouring countries to ensure that their citizens intending to visit South Africa had the proper documentation. Beyond 2010, the Department was also considering introducing a transit visa for people visiting neighbour countries.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) asked the Minister to explain how the department was beefing up its capacity shortage. There were media reports which suggested that a number of ports of entry had staff shortages. There was also the issue of shortage of police officials at the Maseru border gate. One newspaper article reported that there were only two police officials stationed at Maseru border gate, making it easier for stolen cars to be smuggled through that gate.
Minister Zuma replied that an arrangement was being made to supplement all the ports of entry which had been identified as having capacity shortages. The short-term intervention strategy would entail setting up temporary structures and more personnel at many of the busy ports to assist with the processing of visitors. That would also entail bringing more equipment because personnel alone, no matter what number, would be wasted if there was not matching equipment to allow the officials to do their job.
Ms N Balindlela (COPE) asked the Minister of Home Affairs to explain the situation with regard to the taking over of the borders by the Defence Force. Was that something which was ongoing and was it likely to be completed before the start of the tournament?
Mr Komphela agreed with the remarks about corruption at the Maseru border, saying he was closely situated to the border and the stories reported were indeed true. This was very likely to be exacerbated, especially during the World Cup period of excitement. What often happened was that the syndicates once having identified the target car went to Lesotho to obtain fake papers that would identify the car so that after the car had been stolen it would easily pass the border due to lack of thorough verification process.
The Minister replied that the Department of Home Affairs responsibility was to monitor the ports of entry and not police of the borders. It was a common misperception that whenever a person was filmed going under the fence to gain illegal entry into the Republic, fingers would be pointed at the Department of Home Affairs. That should not be the case because the policing of borders was a responsibility of SAPS which was now to be administered jointly with the Defence Force.
Ms Thabethe remarked that South Africa seemed to be an attractive country for all sorts of people to hide in. Many who would come under the guise of watching World Cup would want to remain in the country longer than permitted by the laws of the country. Were there any measures which the department would use to track down those who decided not to return to their countries?
The Minister said it would not be practical and South Africa did not have the necessary resources to track people in order to ensure that they returned home after the World Cup. One should rest assured that the majority of the people coming to the country would be there primarily to enjoy the games and the hospitality of the country. Those who might decide to stay would definitely be in the minority. Perhaps that question could be answered by the security services, which perhaps did have the resources to track individuals.
The Minister assured the Committee that there would be measures for monitoring supporters with a record of hooliganism. The Department of Home Affairs, through its links with Interpol, had a list of those individuals who would be closely monitored when they arrived.
Ms Thabethe questioned the level of hospitality training given to Home Affairs officials at border gates. It may well be that many of them worked under extreme conditions but the truth was that Home Affairs officials were not friendly at all when dealing with people to whom they were offering service.
Regarding the non-smiling immigration officers, the Minister promised the Committees to look into that to ensure the levels of hospitality were acceptable.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) recalled visiting the Port Elizabeth airport where she observed that many of the standard protocols that should be present at international airports, were absent. In light of the reports that the airport would be granted the status of an international airport, how would the department ensure that the Port Elizabeth airport would not be a threat to national security - in terms of being used by terrorists – due to its lack of standard facilities required by a fully fledged international airport.
The Minister stated categorically that as the Department of Home Affairs, they were not considering declaring the Port Elizabeth airport as an international port of entry. The department had received numerous requests even from soccer teams who would have their base camp in PE for permission to land at the airport and those requests were denied. This was for the simple reason that the airport was not capacitated to be an international port of entry. Any suggestions about the airport being given such status would be without substance and malicious.
Department of Health Presentation
Dr Yogan Pillay, Acting Director-General: Department of Health, told the Committee that the Department of Health had been working with provinces for a lengthy period of time to prepare for the World Cup from a health perspective. The Department was also working with the private health sector and military health services.
Mr Phumzile Kedama, National Coordinator, 2010 World Cup Unit, Department of Health, informed Members that the former Minister of Health had signed agreements with FIFA in 2003 that guaranteed 24-hour health services for the duration of the World Cup. Some of the key focus areas were emergency, medical, environmental health and hospital services. The Department of Health was ready where emergency services was concerned. The Department had managed to fill the gaps for health care professionals by making use of military health care personnel, private sector personnel as well as personnel drawn from non-profit organisations. The Eastern Cape and North-West provinces were working on establishing communication control centres where emergency calls could be logged electronically so that an ambulance nearer the location from which the call came could be dispatched. The target was for these centres to be up and running by the end of the month. Hospitals from the public, private and military sectors had been identified for use during the World Cup. The different categories of vehicles that would be used included ambulances, primary response vehicles, disaster buses and all terrain rescue vehicles. 18 Out of the 60 ambulances that were required for the tournament have been delivered in the Eastern Cape. By the end of May 2010 Fleet Africa would have delivered a further 30. Other provinces had been requested to assist the Eastern Cape without prejudicing their own services.
The provinces were ready concerning forensic pathology and medicine. Facilities were identified to specifically handle cases where forensic pathology and medicine was concerned e.g. sexual assault cases. The Eastern Cape was not ready where forensic pathology was concerned but would be assisted by military health services. The health facilities around the stadia for players and spectators were ready. The state of readiness of port facilities has been finalised both on land and sea. Staffing levels for the new King Shaka Airport were not adequate but the matter was being attended to. Communicable disease control surveillance centres had been established. All administrative and health officials stationed at the airports had been vaccinated. Informal food vendors had been trained on food safety for environmental health purposes. This was done through a number of municipalities and they received their accreditation.
Health promotion messages have put out. Information regarding health services has been made readily available. The condoms received as a donation from international countries have been received and distributed to the provinces. Command and control facilities had been finalised. The military and World Health Organisation had lent their technical experts for use in these facilities. The accreditation of foreign medical contingents was being finalised by the LOC and FIFA. The aim was to have this completed by the end of May and submitted to the Minister for approval.
The challenges were the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and control centre in the Eastern Cape. To address this challenge, other provinces had agreed to make their ambulances available. The Rob Ferreira hospital would not be completed by the start of the World Cup. To address this the Department of Health had decided to move the contractors out of the site and the emergency and accident unit was being set up for use. An offer had been submitted to the representatives of the striking EMS practitioners. Golf carts and quad bikes did not have demarcated routes, it has been agreed that there would be relaxation of rules within the stadia vicinity to enable them to function.
Mr Komphela welcomed the presentation and expressed appreciation that the World Cup had enabled the integration of the country’s health services much faster than expected. The problem remained with the Eastern Cape province. It seemed to be a bit challenged in terms of being on par with other provinces and as far as state of readiness was concerned. What measures were there to ensure that the province did improve on its readiness? He thanked the department for the way it handled the concerns about the Rift Valley Fever reports that would have cast doubt about the state of readiness had it not been for the swift response to ensure that South Africa did not have that disease.
Dr Pillay explained that the matter had been blown out of proportion by Sky News after the German medical services had wrongly diagnosed the disease as Rift Valley Fever when in fact the South African health officials had diagnosed the disease as tick bite fever, which was very common in South Africa and not a lethal disease. Both the German health officials, together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) later acknowledged that there was a misdiagnosis and uninformed news reporting on the part of Sky News.
Mr Farrow said he had recently visited the Eastern Cape where he learnt that over 300 ambulance drivers had had their permits terminated. That was a hugely worrying factor because those drivers needed to be enabled to be on the roads. One did not want imagine going into such a magnificent event without the services of ambulance drivers to transport people in cases of emergency.
Ms Njobe said it was worrying to learn that at the eleventh hour the Eastern Cape was not moving at the same pace as other provinces. It would be interesting to find out where the national department was when the Eastern Cape health situation was deteriorating.
Dr Pillay agreed that indeed the World Cup had brought about a very positive legacy in terms of integrating the country’s health services. With regard to the challenges facing the Eastern Cape, the major problem was the leadership vacuum that had been created and when the new leadership came in, it had needed time to settle down, while other provinces were making progress.
The National Department of Health had intervened to oversee the developments in the province and to provide the necessary assistance that could see the province catch up with the other provinces. Funding was another stumbling block but that was being resolved, thanks to the intervention of the national department.
Ms P Maduna (ANC) noted that the presentation did not give much information about blood services. It would be wise during an event like the World Cup to be assured that the department had enough reserves of blood to cater for all those who may be in need.
Comments were made about labour matters. The Committees would love to hear that there would not be any threats of mass stay-aways over salaries or working conditions.
Mr Radebe said that the Department of Health needed to confirm that Emergency Medical services had been paid their due. When the Committee had done oversight there were many complaints that they had not been paid for overtime and such incidents if not well managed had a tendency to explode at a critical moment such as during this event. It would be dangerous to undermine workers because they also planned and they knew when to down tools. The Department would be strongly advised to address such matters well in advance to avoid this.
Input from South African Police Service
The Chairperson of the Police Portfolio Committee, Ms L Chikunga, informed the Joint Committee that they had interacted with leadership of the South African Police Service and they were satisfied that the department was ready to provide adequate safety to all South Africans and visitors. The Department of Sports and Recreation was urged to finalise quickly the number of Public Viewing Areas so that SAPS would know how to deploy its officials to police those Public Viewing Areas.
The meeting was adjourned.
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