Meeting SummaryThe Committee reviewed its 2012 Fourth Term Committee Programme. The Committee agreed to leave the Programme for the rest of 2012 as is with the exception of postponing the Tourism Grading Council Workshop which was supposed to be held on 4 December 2012 to the first or second quarter of 2013.
Members highlighted that some of the issues to be discussed were the “one size fits all” concept applicable to SMMEs which was not working. The non compliance with Tourism Grading Council of SA requirements by small businesses like guest houses also needed to be looked at. Instead of enforcing legislation dialogue should be encouraged.
The Committee also reviewed its 2013 First Term Committee Programme. Highlights include meetings with the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee, the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training and the 2nd Tourism Summit. The Tourism Bill will be introduced in Parliament on 16 November and would have to be processed next year. It was not clear whether it would be tagged as a s75 or s76 bill. The Chairperson preferred that the bill be introduced in the NCOP as it was better tasked at looking at local, district and provincial issues. The document was adopted unamended.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and indicated that the Committee Secretary would take Members through the programme.
Review of the 2012 Fourth Term Committee Programme
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, stated that the Committee was supposed to interact with the Land Claims Commission (LCC) on the issue of unresolved land claims and restitution in the present meeting. The LCC had however previously committed itself to meet with the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs on the same day and was therefore unable to appear before the Committee. The LCC had shown keen interest in meeting with the Committee and requested that the Committee provide them with an alternative date for a meeting.
Mr Boltina pointed out that the Committee was to be briefed the following week (on 20 November 2012) by the National Department of Tourism on how it was spending tourism funds which had been transferred to it by the Department of Trade and Industry. 27 November 2012 was set aside for an oversight visit to Small, Micro, Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) in Mitchells Plain. A workshop with the Tourism Grading Council of SA (TGCSA) was scheduled for the 4 December 2012.
Mr boltina pointed out that the parliamentary programme ended on 30 November 2012. He asked whether the Committee wished to go ahead with the TGCSA Workshop on the 4 December 2012 or should the Workshop be deferred to 2013.
The Chairperson stated that other stakeholders should also be present at the TGCSA Workshop. Some of the issues to be discussed were the “one size fits all” concept applicable to SMMEs which was not working. The non compliance to TGCSA requirements by small businesses like guest houses also needed to be looked at. Instead of enforcing legislation dialogue should be encouraged.
Mr R Shah (DA) pointed out that the problem with the TGCSA was inconsistency. Complaints received by members from small businesses were that they did not receive financial or any other support from the NDT. It was therefore difficult to maintain standards when support was lacking. Many small businesses felt that the TGCSA should be done away with. He agreed that enforcing legislation was not the way to go. Another problem with the TGCSA was its lack of capacity to implement. Rumours of favouritism in the TGCSA were also going around.
The Chairperson added that there were also allegations made that there was conflict of interest by TGCSA employees forcing businesses to buy bedding products from them.
Mr S Farrow (DA) asked how the old and new systems of the TGCSA were to be merged.
The Chairperson said that a further problem was that many businesses printed and put up their own grading plaques. The Tourism Bill would make this practice illegal. The delay in the Bill was partly due to certain constitutional issues. What was the situation regarding grading in other countries?
Mr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Advisor, responded that grading was mainly for quality assurance and that overseas grading was mainly voluntary. In SA certain provinces wished for grading to be voluntary whereas others wished it to be mandatory. At present grading mainly covered accommodation but it would include facilities like beaches and camping sites as well. Universal access for persons in wheelchairs for instance was a requirement by the TGCSA that establishments had to meet.
Mr Shah remarked that there was an upside and a downside to grading. The fact of the matter was that SA had heritage and rural tourism. Grading standards was many a time difficult for rural communities to comply with.
Mr Khuzwayo said that tourists looked at destination SA as whole. They did not make a distinction between urban and rural areas. He felt that there should not be a relaxation of grading standards.
The Chairperson said that it was important to have the workshop with the TGCSA. He asked whether the Committee wished to have it on 4 December 2012 or whether it should be postponed to 2013. Laws should not be unenforceable and undesirable. It was important for establishments to display whether they were graded or not.
Mr Khuzwayo noted that there were different grading systems in the tourism industry. There was grading which was done by the TGCSA and grading which was done by the Automobile Association of SA (AA). Hence disparities came into play. He emphasised that the Tourism Bill did not force establishments to get graded. With regards to government procurement the emphasis was on Black Economic Empowerment compliance and not grading compliance.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee postpone its workshop with the TGCSA to 2013.
Mr Boltina added that most parliamentary committees finished for the year between 27-30 November 2012. The Committee would be the only portfolio committee sitting on 4 December 2012 if the workshop went ahead.
The Chairperson further suggested that the TGCSA Workshop be held in the first or second quarter of 2013. All stakeholders would be invited.
Ms X Makasi (ANC) recommended that perhaps the TGCSA Workshop should be integrated with the Tourism Summit 2013 which the Committee was hosting.
The Chairperson suggested that the Tourism Summit 2013 be scheduled for the second quarter of Parliament before the Committee considered the Tourism Bill. The summit would provide the Committee with a great deal of information before it dealt with the Tourism Bill. He added that Mr Khuzwayo should provide the Committee with a one or two page document on grading as it was done overseas.
The Committee agreed that the TGCSA Workshop scheduled for the 4 December 2012 be postponed until 2013.
2013 First Term Committee Programme Proposals
Mr Boltina noted that the Programme of the Committee was guided by the outline which had been provided by the National Assembly Programming Committee of Parliament.
He informed the Committee that the State Law Adviser’s Office was finished with the Tourism Bill and that it was now in the hands of the National Department of Tourism (NDT). The Minister had to sign off the Bill and it was expected to be tabled in Parliament by Friday 16 November 2012. Once the Bill was tabled in Parliament the Committee would be workshopped on the Bill by the State Law Adviser’s Office, the Parliamentary Legal Advisers and the NDT. Thereafter public hearings would be held on the Bill where after the Bill would be processed. The only unclear issue was whether the Bill was going to be introduced via the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) or the Committee. Both the NDT and the State Law Adviser’s Office were unsure where it would be introduced. If the Bill was introduced by the NCOP the Committee could occupy itself with other Committee work.
The Chairperson mentioned that some of the proposed meetings for 2013 were with the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee (PICC) on tourism projects and where they were located in the provinces. Another meeting was one with the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training on curriculum design and the needs of tourism. The NDT also needed to brief the Committee on how it was using the tourism funds that the DTI had transferred to it. The Committee was to host its 2nd Tourism Summit 2013 as well as the previously discussed TGCSA Workshop. There was also to be a workshop on the funding of SMMEs by financial institutions in terms of micro finance services offered by banks and government. Planning sessions included the Committee’s Strategic Plan Review which was last done in 2010.
The Chairperson highlighted that the Committee also intended to undertake a local oversight to Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape. Provincial oversight visits to Free State, Kwazulu-Natal and Western Cape were also planned. Inputs by members on the Proposed Programme were welcome and would be incorporated into the Committee’s Programme. He added that in 2010 the Department of Labour had appeared before the Committee and members had asked why so many restaurants and hotels employed foreigners. At the time the Department of Labour had responded that legislation was being drafted which they felt the Committee needed to see. The legislation was the Employment Services Bill and a copy had been provided to members. He needed to be guided by the Committee as to how processes were to be aligned or whether the Department of Labour would be asked to brief the Committee on the Employment Services Bill.
The Chairperson preferred that the Tourism Bill be introduced in the NCOP. The NCOP was better tasked at looking at local, district and provincial issues. The nature of tourism in SA was that there were concurrent functions. Resources were allocated at provincial level. On the issue of grading, incentives and disincentives needed to be considered. On education, training and skills development in tourism gaps needed to be filled. The Mpumalanga Regional Training Institute should be invited to the Tourism Summit as it was clearly doing something right on tourism training which others were not. Their success story could be a model for others to emulate. There needed to be some sort of training for persons who did not have a matric certificate.
Mr Shah agreed that there were individuals who attended trade schools because they were not academically inclined. These individuals excelled in trades of a practical nature like plumbing, carpentry etc. Training in tourism should have the same sort of practical element for those not academically inclined.
The Chairperson noted that there were youth out there who were not academically inclined but were good at craft work. He pointed out that the insufficient tourism budget of the Free State also needed to be looked at. On the issue of resources, capacities and heritage he stated that Lesotho was doing well in tourism by promoting indigenous activities like pony and donkey rides for instance. The same approach could be followed in SA’s rural areas. He asked why tour guides had to renew their first aid training every two years. It was an issue which needed to be looked at.
The 2013 First Term Committee Programme Proposals were adopted unamended.
Minutes dated the 9 October 2012 was adopted as amended after grammatical and spelling changes were effected to it.
The Committee agreed that figures contained in minutes dated the 16 October 2012 needed to be checked and confirmed. Grammatical changes were made to it and it was adopted as amended.
Minutes dated the 23 October 2012 was also adopted as amended after grammatical changes were effected to it.
Mr Farrow asked that a figure contained in the minute be checked on for correctness and the Committee agreed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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