The National Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on the Tourism Bill inclusive of the amendments which were proposed to it by the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations (National Council of Provinces). After the presentation from the National Department of Tourism, a brief discussion ensued over the suggested change by the National Council of Provinces in the use of the term “Tourism Protector” as contained in the Draft Bill to that of “Tourism Complaints Officer”. The change was considered acceptable by the National Department of Tourism as the “Tourism Complaints Officer” would simply receive tourism complaints and forward it to the Offices of the National Consumer Commission either nationally or provincially to be dealt with.
The Draft Bill as received from the National Council of Provinces was placed before the Committee for adoption and it was unanimously adopted without any amendments.
The Committee also briefly considered its 2014 First Term Committee Programme. An amendment was made to the schedule and it was agreed that if further changes were required in the future, this would be dealt with at the appropriate time and duly communicated.
Members were also given a breakdown of the Committee’s Draft Provincial Oversight Visit to the Western Cape Programme which was scheduled to take place on the 4,5,6 and 11 February 2014. This Draft Programme was adopted by the Committee.
The Committee further adopted outstanding minutes from the previous year..
Briefing by National Department of Tourism
The briefing was done by Mr Dirk van Schalkwyk, Chief Operating Officer of the NDT. The rest of the departmental delegation comprised of Mr Victor Tharage, NDT Deputy Director General: Policy and Knowledge Systems, Ms Mmaditonki Setwaba, Chief Director: Legal Services, Mr Sam Madubanya, Senior Legal Administration Officer: Legal Services and Ms Petra van Niekerk, Parliamentary Liaison Officer. Also in attendance were Ms Thembi Kunene, Chief Quality Assurance Officer of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and Mr Marc Rabie an attorney from South African Tourism.
Mr van Schalkwyk stated that the Bill had been approved by the National Assembly based on the recommendations made by the Committee. The NCOP consequently referred the Bill to the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations. The Select Committee on Trade and International Relations had presented the Bill to all the nine Provinces and stakeholders for consideration and comment. The NDT had embarked on briefing sessions on the Bill in all nine provinces and mandates had been received from provinces. The Select Committee on Trade and International Relations had ultimately suggested two amendments to the Bill. The first was that a definition of “tourist guide” should be included in the Bill and secondly that the term “Tourism Protector” be changed to “Tourism Complaints Officer”.
On the 14 November 2013, the NCOP had adopted the Report of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations on the Bill and it was agreed that the Bill should be referred back to the Portfolio Committee of Tourism for consideration. He noted that essentially there were two amendments which the Committee had to consider.
Mr R Shah (DA) was concerned that the aim of the Bill was to have a “Tourism Protector” in place to ensure quality assurance. The Select Committee had initially suggested that “Tourism Protector” be replaced by “Tourism Compliance Officer”. Now the suggestion was for a “Complaints Officer”. He felt that there was no benefit to having a “Complaints Officer” as the official was only going to receive complaints and nothing was going to be done about them. Compliance would not be ensured. He asked what was to happen where there were grievances in the tourism industry. He was also concerned that the appointment of the “Complaints Officer” was up to the Minister of Tourism. He was of the opinion that it would have been preferable for the “Compliance Officer” to be independent from the NDT and was properly sourced.
Mr Shah was further concerned that the Western Cape and Mpumalanga had abstained from voting on the Bill when the Select Committee had voted on it. Why had the Bill not received the blessings of these concerned provinces? He asked what the concerns of the Western Cape and Mpumalanga Provinces were and what the legal consequences were.
Mr van Schalkwyk replied that when the vote on the Bill had taken place in the Select Committee, the Western Cape had voted in favour of the Bill but it had not had its final mandate. Mpumalanga had abstained because its Member of Parliament had not obtained a final mandate. He pointed out that seven of nine provinces had voted in favour of the Bill and hence it had been passed.
He noted that on the issue of complaints and compliance, lively debate had taken place whilst the Bill had been with the Committee. The real power or authority to deal with complaints was the Office of the Consumer Protector which fell under the Department of Trade and Industry. The NDT had set up mechanisms for the Consumer Protector to deal with complaints in the tourism industry. Hence the ultimately mandate to deal with complaints was vested in the Consumer Protector.
Ms Setwaba added that the policy intention was to have one person to receive complaints. She conceded that complaints were being received from tourists and hence a mechanism had to be put in place. The NDT did not have a mandate to be able to take measures to ensure that there was compliance. When complaints were received, they were forwarded to the Offices of the National Consumer Commission either nationally or provincially.
Mr Shah responded that if that was indeed the intention then it should have been included in the Bill. Every government department had to deal with complaints. What was the need to include a provision in the Bill if complaints were simply going to be referred to the National Consumer Commission?
Ms F Mahomed (ANC) noted that many bills had provisions of the sort as contained in the Bill. The Bill did elaborate on what the “Complaints Officer” was all about.
The Chairperson said the current forms of Clause 45 and 46 when read together did not differ that much from what it was when it was adopted originally by the National Assembly.
Mr Gary Rhoda, Parliamentary Legal Adviser, pointed out that in terms of the mandate of the Select Committee and the rules of the National Council of Provinces together with the mandates of the Procedures Act, the Select Committee was allowed to proceed with the Bill even though the Western Cape and Mpumalanga had abstained from voting.
The Chairperson said he assumed that the two previously mentioned provinces had not objected to the Bill.
Mr Herman Smuts, Principal State Law Adviser: Office of Chief State Law Adviser, stated that the Constitutional Court had stated that every state official should only perform his/her functions. It went without saying that the “Complaints Officer” should only perform certain functions which were spelt out as his or her duties.
The Chairperson stressed that the profile of the “Complaints Officer” needed to be elevated so that the public could be aware of its existence.
Mr Shah agreed that the public should be made aware of the “Complaints Officer’s” existence. It was important for the “Complaints Officer” to take action against the NDT if need be. He or she should have a degree of independence and should not be in fear of losing their jobs by taking action against the NDT.
Mr van Schalkwyk said the Office of the Complaints Officer had already been established. The post had been advertised and interviews would take place in due course.
Mr Tharage clarified that the position which the NDT had in fact advertised was not for a “Complaints Officer” but was actually for a legal person. The advertised post was not for a “Complaints Officer” post per se. Only after the Committee had voted and passed the Bill and the President had signed it into law could a person be appointed as a “Complaints Officer”. He reiterated that the post as advertised at present was for a legal person.
Mr Shah said if what Mr Tharage explained was correct, would there be an internal change of job description of the person appointed.
Mr Tharage replied that the Minister had the power to designate a person to be the “Complaints Officer”.
The Bill as received from the National Council of Provinces was placed before the Committee for adoption and it was unanimously adopted without any amendments.
2014 First Term Committee Programme
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, presented the 2014 First Term Committee Programme to the Committee. The First Term Programme covered the period from the 28 January 2014 until the 14 March 2014. He noted that all parliamentary committees had been asked to prioritise dealing with outstanding pieces of legislation. The Committee had been unable to deal with the Draft Tourism Bill at the end of 2013 and hence it had been given top priority on the Committee’s agenda for 2014.
He proceeded to give the Committee an overview of the Committee’s 2014 First Term Programme. He highlighted the Committee’s Oversight Visit to the Western Cape that was scheduled from the 4 – 7 February 2014. Of interest was the fact that the 8 and 9 February 2014 had been reserved for voter registrations. Given the aforementioned, he felt that perhaps the Committee would feel more inclined to reschedule its oversight commitments for the 7 February 2014 to the 11 February 2014.
The Committee agreed to reschedule its oversight commitments for the 7 February to the 11 February 2014.
The rest of the 2014 First Term Committee Programme remained unchanged.
The Chairperson said that where changes to the Programme were required in the future it would be dealt with at the appropriate time and duly communicated.
Draft Provincial Oversight Visit to the Western Cape Programme
The Committee’s Programme was as follows:
4 February 2014 – A meeting with the Western Cape Provincial Member of the Executive Council (MEC) on Tourism. Thereafter the Committee would undertake a visit to Table Mountain where the Committee would receive a briefing on the safety of tourists. The Committee would then proceed to the False Bay Ecology Park which was apparently an Expanded Public Works Project (EPWP).
5 February 2014 – The Committee would visit the West Coast District Municipality and would meet with tourism stakeholders.
6 February 2014 – An EPWP in the Overberg District would be visited.
11 February 2014 – The Committee would meet with Small, Medium and Micro sized Enterprises (SMMEs). Meetings with other stakeholders would also take place.
Mr L Khorai (ANC) felt it important that the NDT be informed of the Committee’s oversight visit so that an NDT official could be present when EPWPs were visited by the Committee.
Ms van Niekerk informed the Committee that an NDT official had already been designated to meet up with the Committee on its oversight visit.
Mr van Schalkwyk said the NDT would still determine which senior NDT official would accompany the Committee on its oversight visit.
The Committee adopted the Draft Provincial Oversight Visit to the Western Cape Programme.
The Committee adopted its minutes dated the 15 and 29 October 2013 with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.