The Federation of South African Tourist Guides Association (FSATGA) presented its inputs on the Bill. It was felt that transport legislation needed to specify that a tourist vehicle that could transport more than thirteen tourists needed to have a separate tour guide and a driver. This responsibility of the Department of Transport should be captured in the Bill. Action against illegal tour guides should also be specific in the Bill. The Bill needed to make provision for concessions for tour guides when they brought tourists to tourist attractions.
FSATGA queried why the registration fees collected from tour guides were not ploughed back into tour guides. Members questioned the financial feasibility of having a driver and a separate tour guide on a thirteen-seater tourist vehicle. The Committee noted that legislating concessions for tour guides was problematic as public funds would be used to subsidise a person employed privately. They also queried why Chinese and German tourists were bringing their own tour guides along, and why this was allowed. There was a fear that jobs were being taken away from South Africans.
The Tourism Union of South Africa presented its inputs on the Bill. It was felt that the Bill should be in line with the Labour Relations Act. The presentation showed that drivers and tour guides were seen as contract workers and not as employees of tour operators. There was no sick leave, no leave pay and no workmen’s compensation. The sector was almost completely unregulated. There was also lack of enforcement against illegal guides. A concern was that the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) had elicited no input from organised labour. The Department of Tourism disputed this saying that labour had been part of the NTSS.
The Committee wondered where the fees collected from the re-registration of tour guides went.
Members felt that many of the issues raised were labour-related and were covered by other pieces of legislation. They thought that perhaps some of the issues could be captured in the Regulations of the Bill.
The South African Local Government Association’s (SALGA) presentation focused on issues from a local government perspective. They showed that tourism was part of local economic development, but in local government it was not a priority as it was not a legislative imperative as other local government functions were. Preference was given to basic needs such as housing etc. because there was no legislative mandate for it at local government level. All functional competencies said that national and provincial government by legislative and other measures had to support local government’s role in tourism matters. It had to be remembered that the operationalisation of tourism frameworks took place at municipal level. The Bill was somewhat silent on the role that local government had to play and the implementing role of local government was not clear. SALGA suggested that the role of local government could be better articulated in the Bill or its regulations, where relations between various role players could be clarified as well. Other issues that needed to be clarified included institutional development, training and capacity building.
Members felt that if indeed it was true that municipalities had an “unfunded mandate” then the issue of funding needed to be looked at. They asked if this meant that the Tourism Bill would have to become a money bill. The issue, which also needed to be considered, was that if municipalities did not have strategies on tourism then how they could be resourced. Members understood that SALGA wished to know what the criteria were for the establishment of tourism boards were. The Committee felt that many of the issues raised could not be legislated upon in the Bill but could perhaps be addressed at local government level.
The Province of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism presented its inputs on the Bill. Transformation was covered by the NTSS but there were aspects that still had to be legislated. It was felt that the Bill was silent on the roles and responsibilities of provinces and municipalities, and mention of these spheres of government was only by default. They felt that the NDT’s role should be that of facilitator rather than implementer, that the Bill should be clearer over the issue of tourism levies, and that it should push for the re-investment of levies in the tourism industry. The Bill had to be clear about the registration of tourism businesses and registration should be made compulsory to ensure that the sector was effectively regulated. A recommendation was made that the tourism function should be a funded mandate for municipalities. Another concern was that the Bill was silent on training and skills development.
Members reiterated that it was difficult to legislate transformation. Concerns were raised over the effect that the compulsory registration of tourism businesses and mandatory grading would have on small black businesses. How would funding at municipal level take place? The response from the Province was that development needed to be funded. The Committee pointed out that the South African Tourism Board was representative of competencies and not based on geography. A consideration was that perhaps transformation should be stated in the objects of the Bill.
Federation of South African Tourist Guides Association (Oral Presentation)
Mr Fanie Terblanche, Chairperson of the Federation of South African Tourist Guides Association (FSATGA), gave a brief introduction and Mr Chris McDuling, vice-chairperson of the organisation, completed the rest of the presentation.
One of the concerns raised was that the provisions of the old Tourism Act were not contained in the Tourism Bill. More specific concerns were that the Bill made no mention of drivers or guides for to tour vehicles. It was recommended that the Bill should specify that where there were more than thirteen passengers in a tour vehicle, a driver and guide was needed. This needed to be reflected in transport legislation. Vehicles displaying tour guide signage on it should have a guide on board and this should be enforced by the Department of Transport. The aforementioned responsibilities of the Department of Transport needed to be reflected in the Bill. Illegal guiding was a huge problem and action needed to be taken against it. This had to be reflected in the Bill.
Even though tourist guides were highly regulated there were no concessions for tour guides at tourist sites when they displayed their licenses. As ambassadors of South Africa they should be afforded concessions. There was also no provision made for financial assistance to tour guides or tour guide associations. What happened to the registration fees that tour guides paid? The National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) also made no mention of tourist guiding.
Mr S Farrow (DA) said that he was well acquainted with the provisions of transport legislation that had been alluded to. He asked whether the FSATGA had considered the cost implications of two persons having to man a tour guide vehicle that had more than thirteen tourists. The issue of sustainability came into play as an additional person was being employed.
Mr McDuling responded that FSATGA could provide the Committee with a spreadsheet to quantify the financial basis of the use of two persons on a tourist vehicle. He assured Members that the suggestion was economically viable.
Mr R Shah (DA) referred to the problem of illegal guiding and the fact that FSATGA had in its submission alluded to the fact that Chinese and German tourists brought along their own tour guides. There were instances where South African guides were not adequately trained in linguistics. Were there enough tour guides around that spoke foreign languages? He felt the wavering of entrance fees at tourist sites for tour guides depended on the terms and conditions of the guides operations. For example, in India, freelance tour guides were used. How could a tour guide who was in the full time employ of a company be subsidised by the state? To legislate it would be problematic.
Mr McDuling stated that there were over 200 Chinese-speaking guides in South Africa. Only ten percent of these were employed full-time. One of the reasons why the FSATGA was calling for the waver of entry fees for tour guides was because tour guides were advertising tourist sites for free. In addition, the tourist site had a chaperone showing the tourists around. He said that unlike India, South Africa had strict regulations. Tour guides were not allowed to tout in South Africa. There were codes of conduct which tour guides had to adhere to. He explained that in South Africa tour guides spoke English. In countries like China and Russia tour guides did not speak English. FSATGA was pushing for tourism school curricula to include languages as one of its subjects.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) noted that it would have helped the Committee if members had been given a document on the detail that FSATGA had spoken about. She asked whether the FSATGA suggestion regarding tourism vehicles could be included in the Regulations of the Bill and how it could be allowed that Chinese and German tourists brought their own guides along, as jobs were being taken away from South Africans. In China there were guides that spoke English. She agreed that the study of different languages at school needed to be encouraged. The Member asked whether FSATGA had the opportunity to participate with the National Department of Tourism (NDT) on the drafting of the Bill. Had consultation taken place? How big was the Federation?
Mr McDuling apologised for not having had copies of his presentation circulated to Members. He acknowledged that in relation to vehicle laws that there was a need to look at the development of tourist guides. He said that the Traffic Act had changed. Previously the vehicles in question were ten seaters; however, they were now thirteen seaters. Tourist guides in general were not well paid and they became upset when their concessions were taken away. Foreign countries would never allow South Africans to use their own guides when visiting countries. FSATGA had been part of negotiations and had provided a lengthy input on the Bill to the NDT. FSATGA was a conglomerate of several associations. Most of the work was done voluntarily.
Mr Farrow asked whether bilateral agreements between countries existed. What was the difference between an interpreter and a tour guide?
Ms Joeleen DuPlessis, General Secretary of the Tourism Union of South Africa (TUSA), stated that she trained tour guides. She had trained twelve Chinese speaking South African tour guides. For a foreigner to be a tour guide a permit was needed. Spanish and Italian speaking tour guides were trained in the Western Cape as well.
Mr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Adviser, said that on tourist guides, Chapter 6 of the Bill spoke to what needed to happen at national and provincial level. It was difficult to legislate on language as circumstances and trends changed. Language training in tourism courses was a good idea but how did one decide on which language to teach. Besides, this was an issue for the Departments of Education. The Traffic Act sat with the Department of Transport and ther NDT could not influence transport legislation. He was also not sure whether the funding of FSATGA could be legislated. The association was voluntary in nature and survived on membership fees. Perhaps it could be provided for in the Regulations.
Tourism Union of South Africa (TUSA)
Ms Joleen Du Plessis, General Secretary, and Mr Mervin Wessels, Chairman of TUSA, represented the Union. Ms Du Plessis presented the inputs on the Bill.
The presentation showed that the Tourism Bill needed to be in line with the Labour Relations Act. Drivers and tour guides were seen as contract workers and not as employees of tour operators. There was no sick leave, no leave pay and no workmen’s’ compensation. The sector was almost completely unregulated. There was a need for Tripartism. Business, labour and government needed to get together and come up with laws to protect the industry. The reality was that business in the sector was flourishing but labour was not organised. Workers who wished to join labour unions were discriminated against. 66% of tourism employees did not get any benefits. Labour legislation regarded them as employees that had the same rights as other employees.
She noted that existing laws in the tourism industry was not effectively enforced. Inspections of illegal guides were limited and were not followed up. Inspectors did not have law enforcement powers. Some grey areas identified by TUSA were around the definition of a “tourist guide”. What was a “tour” and what was a “site”? She noted that the NTSS had solicited no input from organised labour in this matter. There should be clarity over the terms and hours of employment in contracts of workers. Employers in the industry needed to be monitored on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and there should be compliance with the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA). The briefing suggested that big companies that muscled out small businesses had to be curtailed. She asked where the re-registration fees of guides went. What was it spent on? The powers of the national and provincial registrars should be enhanced. What was meant by the term “scheme” in the Bill?
Mr Farrow pointed out that the Committee was dealing with the Tourism Bill - labour issues were covered by other pieces of legislation. He noted that issues needed to be separated. What specific inputs did the Union wish to make on the Bill itself? The Bill did speak to the role of tour guides.
Ms Du Plessis said that an academic practical definition of a “guide” was needed.
Mr Shah said that a great deal of the concerns raised by TUSA could not be legislated in terms of the Bill. Some of the issues could perhaps be covered in the Regulations of the Bill. He noted that the Bill covered illegal tour guides. Were Chinese and German tour guides coming from abroad meeting the requirements of the South African Qualifications Authority? How did they obtain permits in the first place?
Ms Du Plessis clarified that the Chinese tour guides she had trained were Chinese South African citizens. She noted that she also did inspections on tour guides on behalf of the NDT. Illegal tour guides only received a letter of warning. There were no sanctions in place. The Department of Transport could however give out spot fines.
Ms R Lesoma (ANC) expected TUSA’s presentation to unpack the issue of transformation of the industry. Which part of transformation was relevant to TUSA? She also wished to know where the re-registration fees of tour guides went. Law enforcement was an issue that the Committee needed to look at. She asked what frustration TUSA had with the NTSS.
Ms Du Plessis answered that transformation had to be seen in the wider sense. Transformation in terms of labour practises had to take place. Tourism practitioners did not comply with labour requirements. She explained that TUSA was a young union and that she had participated on the NTSS in her personal capacity. TUSA’s details had been submitted but it was not on the databases of stakeholders on the NTSS.
Ms Njobe said that TUSA had many concerns but did not make practical suggestions. For example, on the definitions, had alternatives been suggested? She could not understand why there had been no consultation with the NDT. Some of the issues raised were perhaps already covered in labour legislation. The Tourism Protector could refer labour issues to the relevant body who had authority over labour issues. She noted that the NTSS covered transformation.
The Chairperson was concerned about law enforcement and the fact that inspectors did not have enough powers. The Committee did not have a competency over labour issues. The issues of clarification like what a “site” was would be engaged on. On the issue of the NTSS, all role-players should be included. Concerns regarding definitions, enhancement of registrars’ powers , the issue of re-registration fees of tour guides, and the muscling out of small businesses by big companies would be flagged. The professionalisation of tour guides was TUSA’s responsibility. There was no need to redo first aid certifications - once you were first aid certified that was the end of it.
Ms Du Plessis explained that she had trained persons and had approached a big company in Cape Town to provide them with an opportunity to obtain experience. The company had refused. Perhaps the Bill could persuade big companies to come on board.
Ms Thembi Kunene, Chief Quality Assurance Officer of the Toursim Grading Council of South Africa, noted that she had never heard of TUSA. South African Tourism was also not aware of TUSA. TUSA needed to introduce itself to tourism institutions. How many members did TUSA have?
Mr Wessels said that TUSA had quite a spread, but offhand could not provide an exact figure. The information would be provided in due course.
Mr Dirk Van Schalkwyk, Deputy Director-General in the NDT, wished to respond to some of the inputs made on the Bill. He pointed out that the Bill covered many of the concerns raised. The Bill did provide for a mechanism for contraventions and allowed for criminal charges to be laid.
The process on the NTSS included labour and the Draft Bill had also been considered by NEDLAC for a period of three months. The changes effected to the Road Traffic Act took into consideration the number of persons being conveyed and not the weight of the load. The number of persons had been increased from ten to thirteen. He emphasised that TUSA needed to interact with the NDT. The NTSS was structured to deal with labour. The concept of “decent work” still fell within the realm of the Department of Labour. It had to be remembered that the NTSS was not a strategy specific to tourism. It was aimed at making the South African economy grow.
The Chairperson conceded that there were problems but that tourism stakeholders had to deal with them. There was a need to focus on the National Development Plan.
South African Local Government Association
Advocate Reuben Baaitjies, Head of Intergovernmental Relations, and Ms Letticia Naid, Local Economic Development specialist at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) made the presentation.
Adv Baaitjies said that the presentation would focus on key areas from a local government perspective. The Bill’s objective was clearly to provide for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism. There was a need to facilitate a concerted effort by all spheres of government and the private sector. From a legal context there were constitutional provisions that respected the powers of different spheres of government. Tourism was part of local economic development but in local government it was not a priority, as it was not a legislative imperative as other local government functions were. Preference was given to basic needs such as housing etc.
Essentially tourism at local government level did not receive much attention because there was no legislative mandate for it. All functional competencies said that national and provincial government by legislative and other measures had to support local government’s role in tourism matters. It had to be remembered that the operationalisation of tourism frameworks took place at municipal level. The Bill was somewhat silent on the role that local government had to play. The implementing role of local government was not clear. It was suggested that the role of local government could be better articulated in the Bill or its Regulations.
Ms Naid addressed general issues pertaining to the Bill. The Bill needed to clarify the functions and relations between various role players and government structures. Important linkages were necessary and needed to be created in the Bill to leverage and capitalise on the benefits of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) through legislative articulation. Other areas which needed to be articulated in the Bill was institutional development, training and capacity building as well as the local government resourcing of infrastructure development and maintenance of access roads and amenities to tourist attractions.
Clause 4 of the Bill spoke to the NTSS. SALGA proposed that the Bill should consider the importance of local government planning mechanisms in the development of the NTSS. The planning thrust of local government was its Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). If something was not in the IDP then it was not a priority to the municipality. Clause 5 of the Bill dealt with the establishment of a National Tourism Information and Monitoring System. SALGA felt that there was a need for the articulation of the role of government in the optimisation of the system. The rationale was that local government could facilitate the system better by virtue of local government’s proximity. Clause 10 made reference to the functions of the South African Tourism Board. SALGA wished to have clarity on the model of membership used in forming the Board.
The presentation pointed out that there were 278 municipalities but there were only 95 tourism boards. SALGA suggested that an audit be done on the criteria for the establishment of the tourism boards as well as on what influenced their choice of location. Clause 13 spoke to the composition of the South African Tourism Board. SALGA suggested that the Bill should spell out that it was mandatory for local government to be represented on the Board. In addition an operational toolkit should be developed for the Board. The toolkit would rid the ambiguity in the operations of the Board. Local government was after all the key custodian of the space in which tourism took place.
The briefing emphasised that the Bill should articulate the role of municipalities in tourism, which would in turn compel municipalities to plan for it. This role was the only way in which the objects of the Bill could be achieved.
The Chairperson asked if SALGA deliberated on these issues in Ministerial Members of Executive Committee (MinMEC) meetings.
Adv Baaitjies responded that SALGA’s participation in the tourism space had not been on the same level as with other areas of greater priority. Prioritisation had not been there.
Mr Farrow said that the Committee had on its oversight visits picked up that there been a lack of synergy at different levels of government. He was concerned that if tourism at municipal level had an “unfunded mandate” then the issue of funding came up and the Tourism Bill would then have to become a Money Bill. If municipalities did not have strategies on tourism then how could they be resourced?
Ms Lesoma asked why the political head of SALGA was not present. On oversight visits officials were also not around to accompany Members when they were able to visit municipalities. How could different spheres of government be synergised? She said that municipal by-laws tend to have a negative impact on the tourism sector, especially for small businesses. She pointed out that there was no implication that tourism boards would be created in all 278 municipalities. Institutions could not be created where infrastructure was lacking. She agreed with the notion that function should follow infrastructure support. Tourism sites were located within municipalities and hence someone needed to take responsibility for them.
Adv Baaitjies made the point that SALGA was not saying that there must be funding to follow the function. He was aware that the Bill was not a Money Bill. The legislative imperative placed an obligation on municipalities to prioritise tourism.
Ms Naid added that it was not the intention of SALGA to establish tourism boards in each municipality. The criteria used to form the South African Tourism Board needed to be known.
Ms Njobe pointed out that some of the issues raised by SALGA were not necessarily issues that could be legislated upon. It could perhaps be addressed elsewhere. The Committee had pestered the NDT about tourism needing to be located at local government level. She felt that the Bill did speak to the issue. The NTSS also spoke about intergovernmental relations. The issue was about how one would go about strengthening municipalities. The composition and representation of the South African Tourism Board was an issue that had not yet been dealt with. She did not feel that the NDT could legislate for local government as such. Perhaps legislation at local government level could deal with some of the issues. She noted that tourism needed to be prioritised by municipalities as it was a job creator. Municipalities often did not have a budget for tourism.
Mr Shah pointed out that there was the NTSS and the White Paper on Tourism. Did local government not see its part in the tourism vision? He was not sure that the Committee could legislate on what local government should do. It was perhaps true that local government saw tourism as an “unfunded mandate”. He asked whether SALGA had played a role in the Intergovernmental Relations Forum. Did the forum not address the issue of synergy between the different spheres of government? Was local government represented on the Forum?
The Chairperson remarked that tourism was seen as a pleasure industry. It was not seen as a priority that could create jobs. Intergovernmental relations were an issue that needed to be looked at. The Medium Term Budgetary Framework also had to be considered. It was a three-year plan. What role did SALGA play? What was meant by the capitalisation of PPPs?
Adv Baaitjies responded that SALGA was part of the intergovernmental relations system. It was a priority for SALGA for the next 5-7 years. He conceded that it would take some time for municipalities to take tourism seriously. Having said that, municipalities have realised that it should be a priority. For now legislative imperatives like the building of access roads to tourist sites were looked at. He emphasised that if the role of local government was articulated then funds could be set aside for tourism. It could impose an obligation on municipalities to make it a core prioritisation.
Ms Naid emphasised that tourism, as part of local economic development, was a priority to SALGA. The Bill could provide teeth to municipalities to prioritise tourism as a job creator. Perhaps the NTSS could be linked with the IDPs of local government. Because the role of municipalities in tourism was not legislated it was left to chance whether tourism would be prioritised.
Province of Kwazulu-Natal, Department of Economic Development and Tourism
Mr Sipho Mkhwanazi, Senior Tourism Manager, and Ms Ayanda Zondi, Tourism Development Deputy Manager, represented the Kwazulu-Natal Province. Mr Makwanazi pointed out that he needed to highlight the fact they had held meaningful workshops with various municipalities, private sector entities as well as other stakeholders on the Bill. The input being presented came out of those interactions.
He agreed that transformation was covered by the NTSS but there were aspects that needed to be legislated. It was felt that the Bill was silent on the roles and responsibilities of provinces and municipalities; mention of these spheres of government was only by default. The NDT’s role should be that of facilitator rather than implementer. Institutional arrangements also needed to be legislated. The Bill should be clearer over the issue of tourism levies and should push for the re-investment of levies in the tourism industry.
The Bill should be clear about the registration of tourism businesses and registration should be made compulsory to ensure that the sector was effectively regulated. There should be a penalty attached to non-registration. A recommendation was made that the tourism function should be a funded mandate for municipalities. Another concern was that the Bill was silent on training and skills development. The Bill needed to legislate the provision of Visitor Information Centres by local municipalities. It was felt that there should be a geographical representation on the South African Tourism Board. Some even said that the Board’s composition was biased. Grading of establishments should be made compulsory in the Bill and there should be a penalty for non-compliance. The provisions in the Bill relating to the Tourism Protector did not mention powers and functions. The Tourism Protector should be given more powers and it should be linked to a provincial tourism protector.
Ms Njobe stated that it was difficult to legislate on transformation. Suggestions by the KZN provincial department on how to legislate transformation would be welcomed. The alignment of the three spheres of government was covered in the Bill and the NTSS. The compulsory registration of tourism businesses and mandatory grading would be ideal but the problem was that there were previously disadvantaged persons who wished to enter the industry. How would compulsory registrations and mandatory grading affect them? Referring to funding of tourism, she asked what activities the Committee should promote funding for. Essentially tourism fell within the private sector. Where did the Kwazulu-Natal Province think government should fund. The Committee would welcome suggestions where funding could be done. In terms of the geographic spread of the South African Tourism Board, she asked whether the Bill was expected to spell out where the membership of the Board should come from. What powers should be given to the Tourism Protector? Clarification was needed.
Mr Mkhwanazi agreed that tourism was private sector driven but said that government nevertheless had a responsibility. He said that there was a need for better alignment of the three spheres of government. It was understood that everything could not be legislated and that the NTSS was out there. He emphasised that the main element that needed to be funded was development. The NDT had its Rural Development Strategy. Funding at local government level remained a challenge.
Ms Zondi added that there was a fragmented approach to how issues of tourism were dealt with. It was difficult to enforce things at provincial and local government level. The Bill thus had to be more specific on the roles of the provinces and local government regarding tourism. The compulsory registration of business would help with keeping a database of businesses. If there were no compulsory registration of businesses and a complaint was lodged about a business to the Tourism Protector, how would the Protector be able to track down the business complained about? Compulsory registration of businesses need not be expensive and hence could be affordable to smaller black businesses. Illegal businesses would still be around unless there were compulsory registrations.
Ms Lesoma responded that South African Tourism Board members were nominated and not appointed. How would a geographical spread be achieved? The Bill could not be prescriptive on transformation in the sector. It was true that the NDT had a facilitative role. Local government could fund small businesses if there was good infrastructure in place. She added that she would have liked the Province to link the sections of the Bill that it highlighted with the NTSS.
Mr Farrow explained that it was more competencies that were represented on the South African Tourism Board rather than representatives from each province. He noted that implementation of transformation at grassroots level was the issue. Perhaps transformation should be one of the objectives of the Bill.
Mr Mkhwanazi said that it was a good idea to perhaps include transformation as one of the objects of the Bill.
Mr Shah said that the issue of transformation came up over and over again. How was tourism levies collected and why could it not be reinvested in the areas where it had been collected. Where did the Province wish levies to be reinvested in.
The Chairperson explained that levies were collected by Tourism Marketing South Africa (TOMSA). Thereafter, it went to South African Tourism who used the levies to market South Africa. He agreed that the South African Tourism Board was comprised of persons with necessary skills. It would be difficult to obtain a geographic spread. A geographic spread would have helped with highlighting tourist attractions in the various provinces.
Mr Mkhwanazi said that it was initially felt that the South African Tourism Board should have a representative from each of the provinces. However the comments of Members over the issue were noted. Persons with adequate skills had to be appointed. He felt that there was not proper control over the collection of levies by TOMSA.
Mr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Adviser, noted that the issues raised during the public hearings process were clear. When deliberations on the Bill commenced, the Committee would consider the specific comments made on the relevant clauses of the Bill. He was sure that some of the issues raised could be sorted out.
The meeting was adjourned.
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