The Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on tourist guides in South Africa, with reference to legislation, regulation and the possible registration of tourist guides. Members were given figures on the numbers of tour guides per province. These figures were analysed on the basis of race and gender. It was clear that much work needed to be done to achieve more representative figures. The tour guiding fraternity was predominantly dominated by white males. Cross border harmonisation of tourist guiding activities was identified as a challenge. There had been issues between South African tourist guides and guides from surrounding countries like Namibia and Lesotho over the bringing across of tourists from those neighbouring countries. The Department had, however, resolved the issue through bilaterals with those countries involved. The aim was, however, to have multilaterals in the Southern African Development Community region on cross border harmonisation. It would ease the move of tourists from one country to the other. The revenue generated from tourism would be invaluable.
The Department also briefed the Committee on the Expanded Public Works Programme as it related to tourism. The Department was funding and managing the implementation of tourism projects as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme though the Social Responsibility Programme. Approximately R700 million over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period 2011/12 - 2013/14 was committed in funding tourism projects. The Expanded Public Works Programme funding was exclusively appropriated for job creation and had conditions and requirements that had to be fulfilled. The Department identified the Expanded Public Works Programme as the single most difficult project of the Department. Some of the challenges facing the Department were a lack of infrastructure such as roads and electricity in some of the rural areas where tourism facilities were being developed, project failures due to a lack of management, business capacity and technical expertise of the community-based owning organisations, a lack of operational and maintenance funding, and increased project costs because basic infrastructure like roads and electricity had to be provided in addition to developing the tourist facility.
The Committee was given a breakdown of Expanded Public Works Programme tourism infrastructure projects per province as well as their relevant budgets. In total there were 140 projects. It was quite apparent that the Eastern Cape had by far the most projects at 53 whilst the second highest number was in the Free State at 22. Members were also given a breakdown of the Expanded Public Works Programme tourism youth projects. In total 2 625 young people had participated in the tourism youth projects with a total budget of R86 million.
Concerns were raised over the Department's feeling that the Expanded Public Works Programme was such a huge challenge. Another concern was that perhaps projects were being undertaken in areas where the possibility of success was minimal and that funds was being wasted. Members noted that the majority of projects were undertaken in the Eastern Cape.
The Department explained that projects were undertaken in poor areas in order to create sustainable livelihoods for the communities involved. Projects were not undertaken without good reason, as the Department tried to ensure that projects were sustainable and viable. Conditions and requirements were attached to projects and, if these were not met, funding to those projects would be reconsidered. Most of the projects that had reached fruition had emanated from the previous Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
The Department asked the Committee to support it and hoped to depoliticise projects.
The National Department of Tourism was represented by Mr Lucas Makhubela, Director-General, Mr Myron Peter Chief Director: Consumer Protection and Responsible Tourism, and and Ms Lerato Matlakala, Acting Deputy Director General: Tourism Development.
Department of Tourism Report on Tourist Guides: briefing
Mr Myron Peter Chief Director: Consumer Protection and Responsible Tourism, Department of Tourism, undertook the briefing. Since 2001 South Africa had developed legislation to govern tourist guides and had embarked on efforts to professionalise the industry. The FIFA 2010 World Cup had boosted growth in tourist guiding activities. Tourism in itself was legislated in terms of the Tourism Act 1993. The Tourism Second Amendment Act 2000 (No. 70 of 2000) made specific provision for the tourist guiding profession. The Second Amendment sought to define the scope of tourist guiding and provide a framework for the conduct and governance of the tourist guiding profession. It made provision for the establishment of the office of the National Registrar of Tourist Guides including its roles and responsibilities, registration and training, code of conduct and ethics. Regulations were promulgated on the 17 August 2001 and set out detail requirements in pursuance of the Amendment Act. The regulations covered details required when creating and maintaining the National Register of Tourist Guides, the procedure when drafting a code of conduct, the endorsement and suspension procedures as well as fines for non-compliance and the procedure for appeals. In addition to national, provincial registrars were also provided for in the Second Amendment Act. The National Registrar was appointed by the Minister of Tourism whereas provincial registrars were appointed by the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) responsible for tourism. KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape were in the process of appointing their provincial registrars. The National Registrar convened quarterly meetings of all registrars coordinating and reporting on tourist guiding.
Professional driving permits were required for driving tourists around. Other legislation impacting upon tourist guiding was the Land Transport Act 2009 (No. 5 of 2009) as it related to public drivers permits. Section 4.4 of the National Tourism Sector Strategy also dealt with matters relating to tourist guides. The recommendations of the Strategy covered regulations, the institutional framework, education training and development, registrations and database management, monitoring/ evaluation of trained tourist guides.
There was a need for harmonisation of tourist guiding standards across Southern African Development Community (SADC). Problems had arisen between South Africa (SA) tourist guides and foreign tourist guides from other SADC countries. Foreign tourist guides complained that they needed permits to conduct tourist guiding in SA. SA tourist guides on the other hand complained that foreign tourist guides must have the requisite qualifications in terms of SA law to undertake tourist guiding in SA. Transport legislation and regulations also affect both foreign and SA tourist guides when they need to conduct tours across SADC borders. The Department had started a process to harmonise standards across SADC. Possible areas for harmonisation of standards would be tourist guiding qualifications, safety and first aid, code of ethics and conduct and the recognition of SADC qualifications.
The National Database of Tourist Guides reflected that there was a total of 10 824 tourist guides across all the provinces. The breakdown was 2 818 African,733 Coloured, 82 Indian and 7 191 white. Percentage wise it was 66.43% whites, 26.03% African, 6.77% coloured and 0.77% Indian. The Committee was also provided with a graphical breakdown of the total number of tourist guide registrations per province. Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape had the highest numbers. Of this number 67.5% were males while the remaining 32.5% were females.
The Federation of South African Tourist Guide Associations was established to organise tourist guides into a single federation. The Federation was currently registering itself as a Section 21 company. Formal relations between the national Department of Tourism and the Federation would be established. The South African Tourism and Tourist Guide Allied Workers Union had also been established, mainly, however, in the Western Cape at present. The Union hoped to gradually expand its membership to other provinces. It had provisional registration with the Department of Labour.
Mr Peter outlined some of the challenges facing tourist guiding in SA. All current legislation and regulations needed to be reviewed and realigned. Provincial registrars had to be timeously appointed and there had to be greater support and resourcing of their activities. Effective enforcement against illegal guiding was also needed. Furthermore harmonisation of standards and resolution of matters relating to cross-border tourism was also needed. There were labour relations issues as some guides were self employed whereas others worked for employers.
Having highlighted challenges, current interventions by the Department for 2011/12 were elaborated upon. The Department intended to implement the strategy to professionalise tourist guiding and to this end would conduct awareness workshops for all stakeholders to participate in the process. The Department also intended to draft a framework for the harmonisation of tourist guiding standards across SADC. It also intended to convene quarterly meetings with provincial registrars to implement the strategy. Registration of tourist guides would be further refined and integrated. The Department would develop regulations for the new bill in consultation with the industry.
(For further details, please see the presentation document.)
The Chairperson asked what professional driving permits were. He also asked what different provinces were legislating around. Was the majority of tourist guides self employed or were they employed by other persons? Was there a shortage or a surplus of tourist guides in SA?
Mr Peter responded that there were different categories of driving permits. There were those for transporting groups of persons and those for the transportation of goods. For example a Category P permit was for buses which carried more than 21 persons. On the issue of cross border challenges there was a need for greater harmonisation for the SADC area. Tour guides from Namibia complained that they needed permits when they crossed over to SA. The SA tour guides argue that it was correct as SA had a legislative system which had to be abided to. He made a rough guess that most tour guides were self employed. In the Western Cape there were tour guides that were employed by hotels. Regarding the shortage or surplus of tour guides, most tour guides did not complete matric but had detailed knowledge over the bush and the environment. Sector Education Training Authorities in SA (SETAs) made provision for recognition of prior learning in such cases.
Mr Lucas Makhubela, Director-General, Department of Tourism, stated that the issue with Namibian tour guides had been resolved by way of a bilateral agreement between SA and Namibia. SA in any case trained Namibian tour guides. Another problem that had emerged when Namibian tourists visited SA was that car rental companies charged high prices for vehicles which the tourists used to get back to Namibia. The Department was trying to resolve the issue. A bilateral had also been entered into with Lesotho regarding tour guides. Lesotho tour guides were also trained in SA. Quality of training of tour guides was not an issue. SADC training standards were accredited by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
Mr G Krumbock (DA) stated that the briefing seemed simple enough but the issue was a complex one. He asked where illegal tour guiding started and where it ended. What constituted illegal tour guiding? He gave a practical example of showing some Namibian visitors around Parliament. Many South Africans showed tourists around on an ad hoc basis. Where did legislation come in to stipulate that the line had been crossed, that one was now doing the job of a registered tour guide? Were the limits defined in the new Act? What was envisaged? When was the line crossed?
Mr Makhubela noted the issue on what constituted performing the job of a tour guide. It was correct that limitations needed to be set. One could assume that if a person ran a business in showing tourists around such person was acting as a tour guide. The issue would be addressed in the amendments.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) agreed that some tour guides did not perhaps have formal education but they were knowledgeable on the bush and the environment. Were tour guides not supposed to be trained in first aid? She had only witnessed male tour guides at the Kruger National Park. The briefing had shed a great deal of light on the issue of tour guides.
The Chairperson answered that tour guides did receive first aid training once a year for which they received a certificate.
Mr Peter stated that the Health Act regulated first aid training.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) stated that one of the main qualities of a tour guide was that such individual should be knowledgeable. Who tested whether tour guides were knowledgeable and fit for their jobs. She referred to the appointment of provincial registrars and asked why only the Western Cape and KZN had been mentioned. What about the other provinces? What were the time-frames for the other provinces to come on board? She referred to the Tourism Act and stated not all provinces were mentioned either. Why were these tour guides in those provinces allowed to continue without legislation to guide them? Why was the Eastern Cape not involved? Was there lessons learnt from European countries on cross border tourism issues? She noted that the low figure for female tourist guides in all the provinces was a challenge that needed addressing. What happened when illegal tour guides were caught?
Mr Makhubela responded that the issue of illegal tour guides was a challenge. As with any new act there were issues of enforcement. Cross border tourism had to be harmonised as it generated revenue for SA. Setting norms and standards however took time. A multilateral arrangement had to be considered for the SADC region. Many visitors from SA often travelled over to Lesotho. The Lesotho authorities however complained that visitors left litter in Lesotho. The problem was that visitors had to take food and drink with them every time they visited Lesotho. The solution would hence be that Lesotho had to open up restaurants.
Mr Peter stated that there was recognition of prior learning for persons who were knowledgeable but lacked formal education. There were assessors who assessed tour guides and provided a certain level of training. There were different levels of training. Tourist guides needed to be well rounded. On time-frames on registrars for provinces, the issue was about the law not being explicit enough. In the Bill some issues needed to be reviewed. Regarding the Tourism Act, most provinces used the Second Tourism Amendment Act 2000 to guide operations. He agreed that the issue of females in tourist guiding needed to be addressed. The harmonisation of cross border arrangements took time and deliberations were taking place. The issue of illegal guides was difficult. The South African Police Services (SAPS) had to do the arresting and the issuing of fines. The Department was working with certain formations on this. There were instances when SAPS was simply not available. Provinces did do periodic inspections and spot checks. For example in Cape Town the MEC for Tourism had done spot checks on guides operating on Table Mountain. The aim was to get all tourist guides to register themselves.
Mr Makhubela responded that the Eastern Cape was one of the provinces that were inactive in MinMEC and Mintek formations. It never attended meetings. Meetings were held every quarter. The Eastern Cape nevertheless received a major part of the budget which was for infrastructure development. The province was doing well on infrastructure development. The issue of drivers acting as tour guides and vice versa needed to be dealt with. The driver after all was supposed to keep his eyes on the road.
Sustainable livelihoods- EPWP and tourist guides
Mr Makhubela was appreciative of the support that the Department had received from the Committee on the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). He noted that the EPWP was one of the most problematic programmes. If there was one programme which would push him to the point of resigning it would be the EPWP. The Department coped because of the support received from the Committee. A great deal of systems in terms of governance was put in place. It was critical for implementation. The issue of viability of projects needed to be considered. The Eastern Cape had thus far received R627 million for infrastructure development. The Eastern Cape received the bulk of the budget because poverty in the province was much higher than many of the other provinces.
Ms Lerato Matlakala, Acting Deputy Director General: Tourism Development, Department of Tourism, undertook the briefing. The Department was funding and managing the implementation of tourism projects through its Expanded Public Works Programme namely the Social Responsibility Programme (SRI). Approximately R700m over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period 2011/12 - 2013/14 was committed in funding tourism projects. The EPWP funding was exclusively appropriated for job creation and had conditions and requirements that had to be fulfilled.
Who was the Department funding? It was funding poor communities, municipalities, state owned entities and provincial tourism authorities. Where was the funding going to? It was mainly used for rural areas, townships and protected areas and parks. What was being funded? Tourist accommodation facilities (lodges and B&B etc), hospitality facilities (restaurants and conference centres), visitor information centres, cultural villages, hiking trails and youth training and capacity building. Some of the key funding conditions and requirements were that it must generate a labour content of between 35% and 60% of the total project cost, rural areas and areas with the highest unemployment rate had to be targeted, there had to be potential for sustainability in the long term and it had to unlock domestic tourism opportunities. Sector transformation and economic empowerment through ownership of assets by communities, short and long-term job creation and unemployment and poverty reduction were some of the successes or impacts of the programme.
Some of the challenges facing the Department were that there was a lack of infrastructure such as roads and electricity in some of the rural areas where tourism facilities were being developed; project failures took place due to a lack of management, business capacity and technical expertise of the community based owning organisations; there was furthermore a lack of operational and maintenance funding, and project costs increased because basic infrastructure like roads and electricity had to be provided in addition to developing the tourist facility.
The Department realised that tourism was not a stand alone sector but was inherently linked to other sectors. Infrastructure was fundamental and supported the competitiveness of the tourism industry as well as providing the physical linkage between demand and supply. The Department was committed to working closely with provincial departments, local municipalities and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in ensuring the long term sustainability of project and to adopt an integrated approach to infrastructure planning and delivery actively involving the tourism sector.
The Committee was given a breakdown of EPWP tourism infrastructure projects per province as well as their relevant budgets. In total there were 140 projects. It was quite apparent that the Eastern Cape had by far the most projects at 53 whilst the second highest number was in the Free State at 22. Members were also given a breakdown of the EPWP tourism youth projects. In total 2 625 young people had participated in the tourism youth projects with a total budget of R86 million.
In closing Members were provided with examples of success stories like the Hector Pietersen Memorial Square in Soweto, Lilani Hotsprings in KZN and the Holo Holo Hlahatsi Project in the Eastern Cape.
(For further details, please see the presentation document.)
Mr Krumbock asked why Government felt that it should be a player in the industrial environment. It was understood that poverty needed to be rolled back. The issue was about sustainability. Government created projects in areas where they did not work. Why was Government doing work that should have been done by the private sector? The answer was simple, lack of profitability. Was it not a better option to have used funds to train persons rather than to invest in projects that were unsustainable?
Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape were the most attractive provinces to invest in as tourism was booming in those provinces. Why then was 43% of the budget allocated to the Eastern Cape? Tourism in the Eastern Cape was smaller but yet it received the bulk of the budget. Would the funds not have been better spent in the more successful tourism provinces?
He referred to the project at Hlahatsi and asked why no mention was made of stakeholders during the briefing. Why did the project have to be funded by taxpayers and ratepayers? Why could the project not pay for itself? Why must the state fund these projects? Could the funds not have been better spent elsewhere? There was no mention of funding coming from the private sector. He asked whether the project would be able to pay its own way. Would there be a surplus that could be recouped. Why was money spent in those areas if there was no demand? The private sector would have done it if it was viable and profitable.
Mr Makhubela responded that indeed the EPWP had huge challenges. The legal framework for it was being strengthened. Any profits made by projects would be recapitalised in the society. When projects were conceptualised, the biggest issue in rural areas was to create livelihoods for persons in those areas. Why had the private sector not stepped in? The reason was the perverse nature of funding institutions. They did not wish to provide financing in rural areas, hence Government had to step in. The projects should be owned by the rural areas. There were sometimes challenges regarding ownership. There was a clause in the legislation which allowed the Department to repossess projects where there were issues of ownership. There were instances where management was also an issue. He referred to a project in Tshivhase which had management issues and was not making a profit. The project was owned by the province but people were using its facilities without paying. The Department had decided to no longer fund it. Hence the requirement that conditions had to be attached to projects. The Department was having discussions with the ATKV, an organisation who had huge experience on the management of lodges in looking at ways in which the organisation could run some of the Department’s projects. The EPWP was a difficult project.
Ms V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) asked what the definition of a rural area was. Was it a town or an area? She also asked what the ceiling for loans and grants was. She referred to the 25 youth projects undertaken in the Eastern Cape and asked what type of projects were they and in what areas were they to be found. If the Department had the goal of job creation would it be willing to provide infrastructure such as roads as well. What training did the Department offer entities like Lilani Hotsprings etc?
Ms Njobe was interested in the 53 tourism projects undertaken in the Eastern Cape and asked for a list of the projects. She appreciated Department’s youth projects but what about women in rural areas. Eastern Cape had huge potential for tourism to grow. She referred to Mr Krumbock’s comments that the major part of the budget was allocated to the Eastern Cape where tourism was not as big as in other provinces. The contradiction was that why should funds be spend where it was not needed. The intention was to develop provinces that were poor and needed infrastructure hence the huge expenditure in the Eastern Cape.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) asked how the Department worked with the Department of Transport regarding building roads to projects that were undertaken.
She also asked what happened to the projects that were undertaken by the previous Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
Mr Makhubela stated that projects by the previous Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism were signed off and funds had to be released. Sometimes the Department was not too convinced to release further funds and hence a decision needed to be made. Hence there had to be clear systems in place.
Ms J Terblanche (DA) asked for a list of all the projects in the provinces as well as a list of all the youth programmes. She referred to the examples of success stories that were given and noted that they were 10 years old. Were there no recent success stories?
She was concerned about Mr Makhubela’s opening remarks to the briefing that the EPWP was his biggest headache. It was worrying. Perhaps something was amiss.
Mr Makhubela stated that new projects had started to generate income. He noted that in Limpopo projects had been abandoned. Perhaps the projects should be rehabilitated and sold off. He reiterated that EPWP projects were the most difficult projects. The Department had to consider cycles of approvals in order to develop communities and infrastructure. Projects that had been initiated 10 years ago needed to be reconsidered. The challenge was to make a decision on whether to continue releasing funds. The EPWP was challenging in itself. The difficulty was compounded by the fact that there was a great deal of lobbying by constituencies to politicians. The Department looked at projects that were completed and whether they were profitable. Thus far completed projects looked good as far as helping to develop communities. Projects were not only limited to rural areas; there were projects in cities like Cape Town and Pretoria. The Department had internal management systems to manage risk. Investments in projects must be done on an analytical basis.
Ms Matlakala added that the majority of infrastructure projects were projects from the previous Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The Department interacted with role-players and the private sector to obtain expertise. The Department tried to ensure that projects were sustainable and viable. She stated that projects needed to be labour intensive by nature. For example if a project had a budget of R10 million forty percent of it or R4 million had to be utilised for EPWP wages. Infrastructure projects were however capital intensive by nature.
The lists of projects would be forwarded to the Committee.
Ms Zikalala also felt that the Department should focus more on women. She asked why was the budgetary allocation to Gauteng was so low. She asked what were the requirements and conditions that needed to be complied with for the ordinary person to understand. What was the starting point for the ordinary person to obtain finance for a bed and breakfast?
Mr Makhubela stated that the EPWP did not assist with bed and breakfasts. It was best to obtain financing from a banking institution.
The Chairperson stated that at Madikwe there were good attractions but that the roads to the attractions were in a poor state. What was the Department’s role on roads? In addition how did the Department relate to stakeholders on the EPWP? Did the EPWP assist on roads or was it seen as the responsibility of provinces and municipalities?
Mr Makhubela stated that some issues did not fall within the mandate of the Department. For example monuments were the responsibility of the Department of Arts and Culture. Road building was also not a Department competency. The Department had however taken a decision that it would look at the accessibility of its projects.
The Chairperson asked how many jobs were created.
Ms Matlakala stated that for quarter 1 of the current financial year there was a target of 4 532 jobs for the financial year. There was however 1 017 released jobs. The total head count for people employed in projects was 4 462.
Mr Krumbock referring to the full time 1017 jobs created. What was the cost?
Ms Matlakala stated that she would have to work it out and get back to the Committee.
The Chairperson stated that it was clear that jobs had been created. What was needed was a better foundation to planning. Projects had many related issues i.e. roads, water, electricity, and security.
Mr Makhubela stated that in SA there were 27 000km of unclaimed roads which belonged to no one. The Department simply did not have the capacity to build roads. The best it could do was to synergise with other Government departments. Roads fell under the Department of Transport.
Mr Krumbock did the cost per job calculation himself and came up with a figure of R99 000 per job created. Was it a good use of funds? How did it compare to other jobs created by the Department.
The Chairperson stated that the issue was about the best use of resources. If the EPWP was not working what could be done? Everyone needed to work together as was done during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. National, provincial and local government should synergise efforts.
Mr Makhubela appealed to the Committee for support. There were basic principles which had to be adhered to in the selection of projects. It was his wish for projects to be depoliticised. He agreed to provide the lists of projects to the Committee by the end of the week.
The Chairperson concluded that all efforts were for the welfare of SA.
The meeting was adjourned.
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