The Committee Content Adviser and Researcher presented an analysis of the twenty seven public submissions on the Tourism Bill received to date. The analysis provided a summary of each submission, the theme relating to each comment and the implication that the comment had on the clauses of the Bill. In most instances the comments were either already covered by clauses in the Bill itself, the Regulations on the Bill, the National Tourism Sector Strategy or the Labour Relations Act. The analysis also made recommendations on which of the twenty seven submissions should be invited to be part of the public hearings process on the Bill.
The Chairperson encouraged Members to add submissions to those to be invited to the public hearings and two were added. The Committee Secretary was tasked with contacting them.
The Content Adviser noted that the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) had not yet sent a submission. Contact would be made with them to enquire when their submission would be submitted. FEDHASA played a major part in the private sector tourism industry and a submission from them on the Bill would make the process more inclusive.
Discussions about the processing of the Bill ensued. Some members raised concern as to why the Bill was being fast tracked. Was there anything in the Bill that was controversial? The Chairperson noted that thus far there was nothing controversial about the Bill. He explained that the processing of the Bill was being fast tracked because Members of Parliament would soon be deployed to prepare for the 2014 elections. The Committee’s scheduled meeting dates to deal with the Bill were the 12, 13, 14, 15 and 19 March 2013. The Bill would be adopted on the 20 March 2013. Members expressed their commitment to deal with the Bill within the time allocated.
Tourism Bill – Analysis of Submissions
The Committee was presented with an analysis of the submissions received on the Tourism Bill [B44 – 2012]. The analysis and its presentation were done by Mr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Adviser, and Ms Joyce Ntuli, Committee Researcher. All in all there were twenty seven submissions to date. The analysis set out who made the submission, provided a summary of comments made in the submission, the theme relating to each comment and lastly the implication that the comment had on the clauses of the Bill. In most instances the comments made in submissions were either covered by clauses in the Bill itself, by the Regulations of the Bill, the National Tourism Sector Strategy or even the Labour Relations Act.
In the analysis, Mr Khuzwayo and Ms Ntuli also made recommendations on which of the twenty seven submissions in their opinion should be invited to be part of the public hearings on the Bill. The submissions chosen were Jayson Clark, Cape Dutch Quarters Tulbagh (Submission Number 1); Andrew Layman Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Submission Number 11); Dr Reedwaan Ismail Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Submission Number 12); Mr Fanie Terblanche the Chairperson of the Federation of South African Tourist Guides Association (Submission Number 14); the Tourism Union of South Africa (Submission Number 16); the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Submission Number 19); and the South African Local Government Association (Submission Number 23).
The Chairperson asked Members to refrain from commenting on the Bill but to stick to the issues at hand.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) added that members should refrain from asking questions of clarity as the Committee was still dealing with the formalities of the processing of Bill. In addition, the Committee still had to read the submissions on the Bill and any other relevant documentation. She asked what criteria had been used to determine which persons would be invited to make oral submissions on the Bill. She referred to Submission 7 which was made by Mr George Andre Roulet, a national tour guide, which spoke to the issue of foreign African guides being used in South Africa, and felt that he should be invited to present during the public hearings process. The matter raised by Mr Roulet directly affected job creation in South Africa.
The Chairperson pointed out that Mr Roulet by his own admission stated in his submission that he did not have any proof about the allegations he made about foreign African guides. The Committee needed to be careful about unsubstantiated allegations.
Mr S Farrow (DA) noted that there were three things that the Committee needed. The first was a copy of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS). Secondly, it needed to know what criteria were used to set up respective national, provincial and regional convention bureaus. The third was to correct a mistake in the Analysis referring to Submission 1 in which “medical aid” was referred to instead of “first aid”.
Mr R Shah (DA) referred to the strategy regarding the processing of the Bill. He noted that there were issues raised in the submissions which related more to policy than legislation. The Committee should not ignore recommendations which did not necessarily form part of legislation. He gave the example of the granting of six month visas for volunteers who entered South Africa. The Committee could raise the issue with the Department of Home Affairs. It could contribute towards advancing tourism in South Africa. He referred to Mr Roulet’s submission which spoke about foreign tour guides plying their trade in South Africa and asked: What were the consequences if tour guiding was labelled as a critical skill? Would tourists be prevented from using tour guides of their own nationality? What if those foreign tour guides knew more about South Africa than their local counterparts did? He noted that the relationship between the three spheres of government was very important. How best to legislate it was the issue.
The Chairperson emphasised that members as lawmakers had to decide on what inclusions and exclusions relating to persons would be made in the Bill. The Committee did not wish to be seen as xenophobic because it excluded foreigners from working in the tourism industry.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) also asked what criteria were used to decide on who would make oral submissions on the Bill. She felt that quite a few of those who made submissions should present to the Committee.
Mr L Khorai (ANC) said that a while back the University of Western Cape had made a submission to the Committee on the State of the Nation Address. The Committee had encouraged the University to comment on the Bill. He felt that their input on the Bill would be valuable. The Committee needed to decide on who should be invited to present on the Bill.
The Chairperson commented on a number of issues relating to the Bill and the submissions received.
Labour issues like hours and conditions of work were covered by the Labour Relations Act. The Committee needed to be careful as there were many issues which needed to be taken into consideration. Farm workers for instance had seasonal jobs. For the qualifications to be a tour guide, a balance needed to be found as the Committee did not wish to create barriers of entry to the tourism industry. The idea after all was to have quality tour guides who were knowledgeable.
The issue of the National Convention Bureau and provincial and city bureaus needed to be managed.
He asked what the merit was of using the term “legal expert” rather than “legal adviser” as one of the submissions had suggested.
He conceded that transformation was a challenge in the tourism industry. It was however not for a lack of trying by the Ministry of Tourism. The issue was about the history of the tourism sector. Interventions were needed. Most of the businesses in the sector were small in nature and were family run. The tourism sector had a great deal of dynamics which needed to be taken into consideration. Innovation on township tourism was also needed.
He felt that the Committee should move away from labour relations issues. He asked whether the Tourism Union of South Africa was the same as other unions. Was it a labour union and was it voluntary? There were provisions in the Labour Relations Act which could address labour issues such as conditions of employment.
Ms Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) noted that there was a fixed wage for tour operators in the hospitality industry. Was the fixed wage a decision of the Department of Labour or the National Department of Tourism? Most of the time, wages were not increased. Where did these fixed wages come from?
Mr Khuzwayo responded that salaries were determined by the tourism sector.
The Chairperson said that workers sometimes did not have the power to bargain for wage increases. He felt that the Department of Labour should address the matter as wages were within their realm. On grading, there was the issue of quality and promotion. There were agencies which promoted establishments. Should quality be a consideration? If grading was not done, would South Africa’s quality of tourism establishments be up to scratch?
He said that the comments on the collection of levies and representation on the SA Tourism Board were noted. The Committee had complained that there were some tourist experiences which were not marketed by SA Tourism. For example, there was a boat ride on the Vaal River that was not marketed by SA Tourism. One of the submissions called for a better geographical spread of the SA Tourism Board. It had to be remembered that there were instances where there was the same type of tourist experiences in different provinces. Another point which came out of the submissions was whether the Tourism Protector should have the power to inspect businesses in respect of grading or whether it should lie with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.
The Committee also needed to consider the possibility of having two rates, that is, one charged for foreign tourists and one charged for South African citizens. India had this model in place. One had to find a balance so that there would not be a problem of reduced revenue.
He pointed out that the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) would also undergo changes as circumstances changed. He asked Committee Secretary to circulate a copy of the NTSS to the Committee. Another question which came out of the submissions was whether the powers of the Tourism Protector should be proactive or reactive.
Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Mozambique formed a triangle wherein tourists travelled to and fro between the countries. The issue was about how to deal with standards for tourist guides for the different areas. He emphasised that Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was important. MOUs with Zimababwe and Kenya were already in place.
The Committee Secretary pointed out that there were three institutions that had communicated that they would like to make submissions on the Bill but as yet had not done so. These were FEDHASA, Nelson Mandela Bay University and the University of the Western Cape. He asked for guidance from the Committee as to which institutions should be invited to present on the Bill. Were there any additional institutions or persons that should be invited besides those recommended by Mr Khuzwayo and Ms Ntuli?
The Chairperson said that Ms Njobe wished Mr George Andre Roulet (Submission Number 7) to be invited to present at the public hearings.
Mr Farrow cautioned against duplication of issues to be presented. He requested that the Committee Secretary check on affiliations between organisations so that they present with one voice.
The Chairperson referred to the Analysis and read out those which were recommended for the public hearings. He added that Ms Njobe had recommended that Mr Roulet (Submission 7) also be invited. He asked if Members wished to make any further additions to the list.
Ms Njobe suggested that the South African Catholics Bishops Conference (Submission 26) also be invited to present at the public hearings process.
The Committee agreed to the recommendation.
Mr Khuzwayo requested the Committee give the Committee Section an opportunity to contact FEDHASA as the private sector needed to be part of the process. The submission from FEDHASA had not yet been received.
Mr Shah felt it important for members to look at the NTSS in order to determine which portions thereof needed to be raised to a legislative level. The Committee needed to workshop the NTSS. If it had already been done, he would appreciate being given access to the notes of the said workshop.
The Chairperson said that the Committee Researcher and Content Adviser would be tasked with advising the Committee on which portions of the NTSS needed to be raised to a legislative level.
The Committee Secretary noted that he had captured the names of all those individuals and organisations which the Committee wished to present at the public hearings. He would contact them as soon as possible.
Mr Farrow stated that he had noticed that the House Chairperson had originally called for the Tourism Bill to be tabled by the week of the 11 March 2013. He felt that there was no need to rush the Bill and that the Committee Chairperson should request an extra week to deal with the Bill. Members had other meetings and commitments and the logistics of it all was complex.
Ms Njobe agreed and felt that Parliament was being unfair to members. The Committee had awaited the Bill for so long and now that it was before the Committee, there was a rush to process it. She felt that if the Committee was being asked to fast track the Bill, Members should be exempted from attending plenary sessions.
The Chairperson provided the Committee with dates on which the Bill was to be dealt with: 12, 13, 14,15 and 19 March 2013. The Bill would be adopted on the 20 March 2013.
Mr Shah felt that if the Committee could meet every Tuesday and Wednesday and have full day sessions, the Bill could be completed in time.
Mr Khorai agreed that members had other committee commitments which were of no lesser importance than the Bill. What was the reason for the rush on the Bill? The Committee needed to deal with the Bill properly. He asked for clarity on why the Bill needed to be fast tracked. Was the Bill controversial?
The Chairperson responded that the Bill was not controversial. However as the public hearings unfolded one could not tell what could emerge. He noted that in the second semester members, would be away from Parliament to set up for the elections in 2014. The question was whether the Bill would be finalised this year or in 2014. Another concern was the possibility of having a quorum, once members were deployed.
Ms Njobe asked what was so different with the 2014 elections compared to other elections. Why was Parliament’s 2013 year being cut short? Members usually ended a year in November?
The Chairperson said that members could discuss the issue in their respective study groups.
Mr Farrow pointed out that there were two things which needed to be considered. The first was for the Committee Secretary to get hold of the persons or organisations that were to participate in the public hearings on the Bill and for them to agree to the time schedule. The second was that on the 15 March 2013 the Board of Trustees of Parliament was on the programme of Parliament. He felt that some of the areas on the Bill could be compressed. The Bill was not controversial and there was not much to be done.
Mr Shah said that there was no need to delay the Bill. It was not a complex Bill.
Ms Zikalala agreed that the Bill could be completed in time.
The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to work as a team.
The meeting was adjourned.
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