The National Department of Tourism was given insight into the performance of the NDT via its four Programmes: Administration, Policy and Knowledge Services, International Tourism and Domestic Tourism. Each Programme was broken down into its strategic objectives, performance indicators against which performance could be measured and finally what had been achieved and what was planned to be achieved in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework Cycle. Insight was also provided on the NDT budget allocation.
Questions were asked about recurring concerns over the Expanded Public Works Programme as there was a lack of proper project management and there were instances of fraud. Given that tourism was a concurrent national and provincial function in terms of the Constitution, Members were interested to know what efforts were being made by the NDT to get provinces and local government on board in promoting and committing funds for tourism. Members asked about the NDT’s relationship with other government departments that impacted on by its ability to deliver such as the Department of Transport, as access roads to heritage sites were needed. Slow transformation of the sector was raised as a concern during public hearings on the Tourism Bill. The plight of tourism graduates and the lack of relevance of the curriculum to the industry were also raised. The NDT should be working with the departments of education at both secondary and tertiary level to improve the content of the curriculum.
National Department of Tourism Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2013/14
The National Department of Tourism (NDT) briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan. The NDT delegation amongst others comprised of Mr Dirk van Schalkwyk, Chief Operating Officer, Ms Nomzamo Bhengu, Chief Director: Business Performance and Management, Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management, Mr Victor Tharage Deputy Director General: Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ms Aneme Malan, Deputy Director General: International Tourism Management and Mr Ralph Ackerman, Chief Financial Officer.
Mr Dirk van Schalkwyk, Chief Operating Officer, pointed out that the NDT’s first strategic plan came out in 2010. The 2013 Strategic Plan before the Committee was not that much different to what it was in 2012. In 2012 the emphasis was on planning whereas at present the focus was on implementation. He noted that the NDT strategic plan was in line with the National Development Plan.
Ms Nomzamo Bhengu, Chief Director: Business Performance and Management, stated that the NDT had not changed its strategy, but had merely refined it. A brief background on NDT’s legislative and policy mandate as well as its vision, mission and priorities was provided. The Committee was also given insight into the NDT’s goals and organisational risks.
Each of the four Programmes of the NDT was elaborated upon by the relevant official in charge of it.
Mr van Schalkwyk spoke to Programme 1: Administration, the purpose of which was to provide strategic leadership, centralised administration, and executive support and corporate services. One of the strategic objectives of the Programme was to have an effective organisational performance management system. A relevant performance indicator was to have a number of strategic documents developed and implemented such as the Annual Performance Report for 2012/13 together with four quarterly reports on the implementation of the 2013/14 Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan.
Mr Victor Tharage, Deputy Director General: Policy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, dealt with Programme 2: Policy and Knowledge Services. Its purpose was to support sector policy development and evaluation, research and knowledge management and the promotion of transformation and responsible tourism. One of the strategic objectives identified was the monitoring and evaluation of tourism sector performance, strategies, policies and initiatives. An example of a performance indicator was the development of the 20012 State of Tourism Report.
Ms Aneme Malan, Deputy Director General: International Tourism Management, presented Programme 3: International Tourism. Its purpose was to provide strategic political and policy direction for the development of South Africa’s tourism potential throughout various regions of the world. A strategic objective was to provide international tourism market (country and/or region) analysis to inform strategic interventions. One of the performance indicators was the number of initiatives facilitated to reduce barriers to tourism growth. Hence for 2013/14 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Home Affairs was to be implemented on the issue of visas.
Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management, continued with Programme 4: Domestic Tourism. Its purpose was to provide political, policy and strategic direction for the development and growth of sustainable domestic tourism throughout South Africa. A strategic objective was to implement tourism growth and development strategies to increase tourism’s contribution to inclusive economic growth. One of the performance indicators was the number of national tourism programmes activated from the approved Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy’s action plan. For 2013/14 a pilot budget holiday resort concept had been conceived and a progress report on the Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy had been compiled.
Mr Ralph Ackerman, Chief Financial Officer, concluded the briefing by providing the Committee with the budget figures. The total budget for 2013/14 was approximately R1.5bn. It was expected to increase to R1.7bn and R1.9bn in 2014/15 and 2015/16 respectively.
Mr R Shah (DA) stated that the NDT briefing had asserted that it was able to identify tourist guides which fell afoul of legislation. How did the NDT identify those tourist guides? What was the fine was to be paid? On page 55 of the document mention was made that with the Tourism Human Resource Development Strategy, 100 FET hospitality graduates had been trained in food safety. How was the training provided? What mechanism was used? What informed the criteria used in choosing a FET college? He asked what the NDT was doing to ensure that the tourism sector benefited from Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) budget. What progress had been made in investigations into fraud relating to its Expanded Public Works Programme?
Mr Tharage, on the matter of tourist guides, said that unannounced inspections were conducted at hot spots. Where a guide was operating illegally and was not registered, he could be fined up to R1000. A company using an unregistered guide could be fined up to R10 000. The matter could also be reported directly by the NDT to the South African Police Service. If there was misconduct on the part of the guide, disciplinary procedures were in place. He held the post as National Tourist Guide Registrar. He worked with provincial tourist guide registrars who had enforcement powers.
Mr van Schalkwyk replied that the NDT was involved in the Presidential Infrastructure Programme. In the Strategic Plan of the NDT there was a great deal of emphasis on local government. About fraud investigations, he explained that four cases were with the Tourism Protector, one was in court and a further three were undergoing forensic investigation. The NDT had up to now taken stringent action. It had also dealt with issues raised by the Auditor-General’s Office. Feedback received indicated that the systems in place were working.
Ms Ramphele, speaking on the PICC, pointed out that provinces identified projects. There was no additional budget from the PICC, it was provided in the Annual Performance Plan. Initially when the NDT had started on it, it was a struggle but later the NDT realised what it had contributed. South Africa had eight heritage sites which needed to be taken care of. If not maintained, the heritage sites could be de-listed. The NDT together with provinces and the Department of Trade and Industry were working hand in hand on the matter. On the training of FET graduates, the NDT was not involved in training; the Southern Sun Hotel Group had done the training. The NDT had a memorandum of understanding with the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) which allowed for students to be trained in accommodation establishments.
Mr S Farrow (DA) asked who was to be the Tourism Protector within the NDT. The Committee wished to know who members could contact within the NDT. He referred to SA Tourism’s Board and asked if the NDT had an ex officio role on the Board and whether the NDT performed oversight over it. He noted that during the public hearings on the Tourism Bill, a great deal of issues had emerged about the National Tourism Sector Strategy. The briefing did not speak about how the NDT interacted with tourism sector stakeholders. He pointed to local government support and training where some municipalities had a tourism directorate whereas others did not. Did the NDT do an audit of municipalities, district municipalities and metros in this regard? How effective was the synergy going down to local government level?
Mr Farrow said that the concept of a budget holiday resort was appealing. Who was in charge of promoting and maintaining such a resort? Tied into this was the affordability issue of citizens having the right to visit parks and heritage sites. He said that in the previous year’s briefing, the NDT had said that it would undertake proper project management over EPWP. He did not see it mentioned in the briefing document.
Mr van Schalkwyk explained that the Tourism Protector was a specific director appointed within the NDT housed under the Administration Programme. Regarding oversight over SA Tourism he noted that he sat on the SA Tourism Board. Both the Minister of Tourism and the Director-General had bilaterals with the Board of SA Tourism.
Ms Ramphele noted that she hoped that something would come from the concept of budget holiday resorts.
She explained that the EPWP approach was that projects had to be ratified by provinces and municipalities. Bulk infrastructure was in any case provided by municipalities. On whether the EPWP was sustainable, the NDT had met with National Treasury and the Department of Public Works to re-look at its principles. The management of EPWP projects was not good. Proper project management was needed.
Ms J Maluleka (ANC) spoke to international tourism and the NDT having missions to institutionalise tourism. The NDT had in the past complained about embassies. How many Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and international agreements did the NDT have and what progress had been made with service agreements. Was the NDT supporting the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to promote intergovernmental relations and to prevent duplication of activities?
Ms Malan responded that 30 agreements had been signed. The focus of the NDT was to revitalise some of the agreements and to align them with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) processes. Alignment between the NDT and DIRCO was of utmost importance.
Ms V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) asked to what extent was the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) accessed by local government so that municipalities could understand the implications. She asked how the NDT intended to assist tourism graduates who were unemployed. A strategy was needed. She was aware that the Southern Sun Hotel Group offered a programme to tourism graduates. The NDT should assist these graduates to become entrepreneurs. On domestic tourism she pointed out that there were poor communities living along stretches of beautiful coastlines, why was the NDT not doing anything to uplift these communities. She asked the NDT to provide the Committee with a list of its initiatives. The list could be divided according to province or region. It would assist the Committee to see what was working and what was not.
Ms Ramphele explained that when tourism graduates prepared their curriculum vitae and went for interviews they were not always successful. The NDT had held workshops in 2012 to assist students with these issues. The NDT had a Chefs Programme and a Tourism Buddies Programme. Some students were absorbed into the two Programmes before they could complete their studies. She felt that a disservice had been done to tourism students as the curriculum was problematic and educators themselves had not been trained.
She agreed to forward a list of EPWP projects to the Committee in due course.
Ms M Njobe (COPE) responded that the concern was that students had wasted their time by studying tourism when the curriculum was no good and the educators themselves were untrained. Could the Committee therefore assume that the NDT was now involved in the construction of tourism curriculum at high school level and not only at university and FET college level? She was glad that teachers were being trained.
Ms Njobe pointed out that there seemed to be a decrease in the budgets of various programmes of NDT. How did it impact upon the NDT reaching its targets? The briefing spoke about the NDT hoping to maintain a vacancy rate of 8%. Had it not been 5%? Why was it not possible for the NDT to have its vacancies filled 100%. Posts were budgeted for in any case. What happened to the budgeted funds when vacancies were not filled?
She asked if the NDT’s allocation to universities was for tourism scholarships. Did the NDT check on whether the funds were actually used to fund tourism studies. Were there figures on how many persons had benefited from scholarships? Why in the briefing was reference made to the Tourism Act of 1993? The Tourism Bill had been passed. On intergovernmental relations, she said that budgets for tourism at provincial and local government level was a problem. How was the NDT to influence the budgets for tourism at provincial and local government level?
How did the NDT uncover illegal tourist guiding? Has the National Registrar of Tourist Guides been identified?
She asked how the NDT managed to influence other government departments such as the Department of Transport to support tourism.
She was concerned about how EPWP funds for social responsibility was spent and whether any jobs had been created. The Tourism Bill had been passed. How long before regulations would be forthcoming? Many issues that had come up in public hearings, would have to be covered in regulations.
Mr van Schalkwyk responded that in real terms there was no reduction in budget but rather an increase. The funds were aligned to deliverables in terms of the Annual Performance Plan. The Tourism Act of 1993 was still in force until it was repealed. The Tourism Bill still had to be signed and promulgated.
Mr Tharage, referring to universities offering tourism studies, said that the idea was to have centres of excellence. For example the University of Johannesburg was good on hospitality whereas the Cape Peninsula University of Technology was good on events. The capacity of the Universities of Zululand and Venda had been built. There was a broader mix in that sustainability and capacity was in place. The building of research capacity was looked at. He did not want to commit himself about when the regulations attached to the Tourism Bill would be ready and the Bill signed into law. He did not wish to pre-empt the process as it could affect the integrity of the law making process. The NDT had created a number of platforms to encourage intergovernmental relations. The NDT had hosted a local government tourism conference together with the South African Local Government Association which was attended by all municipalities. There needed to be mutual understanding and continual dialogue was needed.
Mr L Khorai (ANC) said that the Financial Fiscal Commission had stated that the investment in tourism had decreased. The sector therefore needed future investment in order to meet NTSS targets. Given that most of the persons employed in the sector came from private sector, how was the NDT going to ensure that infrastructure investment would take place in the tourism sector? Speaking on intergovernmental relations, he asked how the NDT engaged other government departments on the NTSS. What was the NDT doing to ensure that there were tourism coordinating structures such as Local Tourism Bureaus at local government, as per the recommendations for institutional arrangements in the National Tourism Sector Strategy?
Mr Tharage, on investment in the sector, stated that statistics showed that there was an increase in the number of units for accommodation. There was no decrease in investment in the sector. There was a great deal of expansion taking place.
Ms Bhengu said that there was a Directors-General Forum where the Director-General of Tourism interacted with directors-general from other government departments. She added that the NDT’s Policy and Knowledge Services Deputy Director General could ask provinces whether they had aligned themselves with the NTSS. The NDT worked with stakeholders to ensure that everyone had a role to play. The NDT was focussed on influencing people to come on board. The agenda of the NDT should be taken into consideration by other departments.
Mr Ramphele added that much of the work of the NDT was dependent on whether other departments had done their part.
The Chairperson asked, on the issue of transformation of the sector, what inroads or achievements were made in 2012/13. Relating to the auditing of public works projects he asked whether there was an indication of which ones were working and which ones were not.
Mr Tharage replied that there were various aspects to consider for transformation. On Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) there were levels 1-8. Levels 4 and below may not include ownership. The law made provision for exemptions. Seventy eight percent of the tourism sector fell into the exemptions category. The sector mainly operated on profit margins of 10%. Profit margins were thus small and it was difficult for establishments to get involved in social development. He noted that in 2010 already, the 2012 targets for ownership of large enterprises had been met already. Ownership targets were perhaps met but management control targets were lacking. The BBBEE component needed to be more active in businesses.
The Chairperson said that the NTSS would assist with different stakeholder involvement.
Mr Shah suggested that perhaps the NDT should consider putting human resources behind its initiatives. Was the NDT working with the departments of education at both secondary and tertiary level on the content of the curriculum? Was the NDT making strategic inputs at these two levels?
Ms Ramphele responded that the NDT had a “Curriculum Analysis" Report. FET Colleges and educators
were involved. Implementation would however be done by the Departments of Basic and Higher Education. The main concern was that tourism had a “by the way” curriculum. The NDT hosted teacher seminars.
The Committee Secretary informed all present that the Tourism Indaba was to take place between 11-14 May 2013. He noted that the dates for members to attend the Indaba had not yet been approved by Parliament. The Committee had a debate on the 14 May 2013 so members would have to depart from the Indaba on the 13 May 2013. The NDT had provided the Committee with a Draft Programme for the Indaba. Further details on the Indaba would be provided to the Committee in its meeting the following week.
The meeting was adjourned.
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