The National Department of Tourism (NDT) briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2015/16 - 2019/20. The Committee was provided with an illustrative overview on the plan of the NDT leading up to the National Development Plan’s 2030 vision. The legislative and policy mandate of the NDT as well as some of the NDT’s planned policy initiatives were touched on. A major change was the NDT’s legislative mandate, which was now governed by the Tourism Act, 2014 (Act No 3 of 2014). The policy mandate of the NDT as well as some of its planned policy initiatives was spoken to. The NDT’s departmental goals and its strategic objectives were highlighted. The Committee was provided with a breakdown of organisational risks that had emerged in the NDT’s Programmes. For example in Programme 3: International Tourism Management, an inability to leverage value from international agreements concluded was identified as an organisational risk. One of the mitigating factors relating to the risk was that the NDT had to conduct an evaluation to determine the value-add of bilateral agreements concluded. The NDT’s risk register had plans in place to mitigate against the organisational risks.
The Department’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget for 2015/16 was R1.8bn. Members were given a breakdown of allocations as per the four programmes of the NDT ie. Administration, Policy and Knowledge Services, International Tourism and Domestic Tourism. The Committee was also given a breakdown of the 2015/16 allocation of R1.8bn as per economic classification. The NDT’s Budget Growth over the MTEF from 2015/16 to 2016/17 was 14.06% and from 2016/17 to 2017/18 was 3.62%. Members were provided with figures as per economic classification within each of the four Programmes of the NDT as well as corresponding growth in budget percentage figures over the MTEF.
Members questioned the NDT’s efforts in their respective provinces. It was asked what the efforts of the NDT were in Limpopo Province regarding the popularisation and appreciation of the Marula drink as was done with wines in other provinces. It was asked how the NDT felt the Committee could assist on intergovernmental relations given the strategic positioning of the Committee at municipal level. The Committee felt there to be definite potential for tourism activities at grassroots level in provinces. It was also felt that SA needed to be marketed more vigorously especially via electronic media. SA as a country needed to be understood in its totality. A more integrated approach was also needed on domestic tourism. The NDT also needed to work more closely with the Department of Transport over the issue of roads infrastructure. The concern was that roads in and around tourist destinations were in a bad state. The Committee accepted the fact that most of the NDT’s allocated funds were transferred to service providers like SA Tourism, was there a proper monitoring of the spending of such funds? Members asked whether there was any way in which the Committee could make the job of the NDT easier by way of law reform pertaining to the Tourism Act. It was pointed out that the tourism hub at OR Tambo International Airport was disappointing. Provinces marketed themselves separately and some were doing a better job than others. The point was made that too much emphasis was placed on the holiday visitor and not on the business visitor. It was felt that the NDT needed to intensify its efforts on domestic tourism; the benefits would automatically carry over to international tourists as well. Suggestions were made that the NDT should consider popularising horticulture tourism as well as Halaal tourism. Both held benefits for the economy of SA.
The Committee expressed its approval of the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Budget of the NDT.
Apologies were received from Minister Derek Hanekom and Deputy Minister Tokizile Xasa who were unable to attend the meeting.
National Department of Tourism (NDT)
The NDT briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2015/16 to 2019/20. The delegation comprised of Mr Victor Tharage Acting Director General; Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Domestic Tourism Management; Ms Aneme Malan, Deputy Director General: International Tourism Management; Mr Dirk van Schalkwyk, Chief Operating Officer; Mr Ralph Ackerman, Chief Financial Officer; Ms Nomzamo Bhengu Chief Director: Governance Support; Ms Benedicta Mogaladi, Director: Financial Management; and Ms Petra van Niekerk, Parliamentary Liaison Officer: Office of the Director General.
Mr Tharage gave an illustration that Members had to picture a train with carriages. The engine in front pulling the carriages was the NDT and policy/regulatory tools, soft infrastructure, the Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP), the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), and SA Tourism were the separate carriages being pulled up a hill with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) being the goals in sight. All the carriages had one common mandate with that of the NDT; however each of the carriages also had its own mandate. The NDT was strengthening the EPWP with the hope of making greater impact. The recently launched TIP was also being implemented. Other issues being looked at included soft infrastructure, skills and capacity building. The two main goals of the NDT were to increase the contribution of tourism to inclusive growth and to have good governance and cooperative governance.
Ms Bhengu in the interest of time only touched on the NDT’s vision, mission and values. A major change was the NDT’s legislative mandate, which was now governed by the Tourism Act, 2014 (Act No 3 of 2014). She outlined the policy mandate of the NDT as well as some of the NDT’s planned policy initiatives. She elaborated on the NDT’s departmental goals and its strategic objectives. The Committee was provided with a breakdown of organisational risks that had emerged in the NDT’s Programmes. For example in Programme 3: International Tourism Management an inability to leverage value from international agreements concluded was identified as an organisational risk. One of the mitigating factors relating to the risk was that the NDT had to conduct an evaluation to determine the value-add of bilateral agreements concluded. The NDT’s risk register had plans in place to mitigate against the organisational risks.
Mr Ackerman continued with specifics on the NDT’s budget. The NDT’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget for 2015/16 was R1.8bn and members were given a breakdown of allocations as per the four programmes of the NDT ie. Administration, Policy and Knowledge Services, International Tourism and Domestic Tourism. The Committee was also given a breakdown of the 2015/16 allocation of R1.8bn as per economic classification. The NDT’s Budget Growth over the MTEF from 2015/16 to 2016/17 was 14.06% and from 2016/17 to 2017/18 was 3.62%. Members were provided with figures as per economic classification within each of the four programmes of the NDT as well as corresponding growth in budget percentage figures over the MTEF.
Programme 1: Administration
Mr van Schalkwyk spoke to the purpose of the Programme which was to provide strategic governance and risk management, legal and corporate affairs, information technology, financial and supply chain management, internal audit and strategic communications support service to the NDT. A strategic outcome orientated goal was to achieve good corporate and cooperative governance. A strategic objective set to achieve the goal was to ensure economic, efficient and effective use of the NDT’s resources. Some programme performance indicators highlighted were to have a number of strategic documents developed and implemented, to have a number of public entity oversight reports prepared and to maintain a maximum vacancy rate of 8%.
Programme 2: Policy and Knowledge Services
Mr Tharage stated that the purpose of the Programme was to support sector policy development and evaluation, research and knowledge management, and the promotion of transformation and responsible tourism. A strategic outcome orientated goal was to achieve good corporate and cooperative governance. A strategic objective set was to create an enabling legislative and regulatory environment for tourism development and growth. A performance indicator used was to have a number of policy documents developed on the implementation of the Tourism Act 2014, (Act 3 of 2014). Medium term targets for 2015/16 were to do a review of the NTSS and to develop new regulations for tourist guides.
Programme 3: International Tourism
Ms Malan explained that the purpose of the Programme was to provide strategic policy direction for the development of SA’s tourism potential throughout various regions of the world. A strategic outcome orientated goal was to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to inclusive economic growth. A strategic objective set was to facilitate tourism capacity building programmes. One of the performance indicators used was to have a number of initiatives facilitated to support South African missions in developing tourism. The baseline set was to have two initiatives to support South African missions abroad. The first was the provision of marketing collateral in foreign languages and the second was to have capacity building on tourism functions as part of economic diplomacy training for South African missions. The medium term target for 2015/16 was to have one initiative facilitated and to have a capacity building programme (knowledge insight and tools) for South African missions abroad.
Programme 4: Domestic Tourism
Ms Ramphele noted that the purpose of the Programme was to provide strategic policy direction for the development and growth of sustainable domestic tourism throughout SA. A strategic outcome orientated goal was to achieve good corporate and cooperative governance. A strategic objective set was to enhance understanding and awareness about the value of tourism and its opportunities. A performance indicator used was the number of programmes coordinated to inculcate the culture of travel amongst South Africans. The baseline used was the 2014 countrywide Tourism Month Programme. The medium term targets for 2015/16 were to have a Tourism Month Programme to be held in September 2015.
The Chairpersons asked members to limit themselves to three questions or comments in the interests of time.
Ms M Dikgale (ANC, Limpopo) relating to domestic tourism, asked when the NDT would have efforts on Marula appreciation in the Limpopo Province as was done on wines in other provinces. Limpopo Province also had Moringa juice and nuts on offer. Given that the NDT had started a pilot project in Upington relating to domestic tourism, what other projects were lined up. The Mapungubwe World Heritage Site was a priority for the NDT on capacity programmes.
Ms Ramphele noted that the NDT was trying to engage Limpopo Province to support a Marula festival. The Kwazulu Natal Province also had Marula and the future aim was to have a Marula belt stretching across provinces. Countries like Zimbabwe and others could also be brought on board. Moringa fruit did not as yet feature in the plans of the NDT. After the pilot project in Upington, the NDT would gauge which provinces showed interest. Presently Kwazulu-Natal and the North West Province showed interest. The NDT focused on poverty nodes on capacity building. Participation was good. Signage at Mapungubwe was done in the past financial year.
The Chairperson asked how the Committee could assist the NDT with intergovernmental relations given that the Committee was strategically positioned to interact at municipal level. Oversight visits had shown that there was potential amongst locals for tourism opportunities.
Mr L Suka (ANC, Eastern Cape) said that from a tourism perspective there was a need to profile SA in its proper context using electronic media. The NDT had to work hand in hand with the Departments of Education and Communications. South Africans needed to know SA. SA had to be talked about. People had to understand SA in its totality. There needed to be an integrated approach on domestic tourism. Discussions had to take place with the Department of Tourism regarding roads infrastructure. In the Eastern Cape roads were in a bad condition along coastal areas. Dynamic interaction was needed on the issue of roads. The safety of tourists from being robbed and mugged was another issue that needed to be looked at. He was glad that road signage had improved on route to the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site. The NDT’s chef’s programme was considered a success. It seemed that most of the NDT’s allocated funds went towards service providers. Why was there a decrease in the Domestic Tourism Programme’s allocation from R366min in 2014/15 to R306m in 2015/16. If most of the NDT’s funds were being used for transfers then there was not much funds in the NDT’s capital budget. Were the funds transferred being monitored? On law reform with specific reference to the Tourism Act, how the NDT wished the Committee to assist to make its job easier. The NDT’s domestic tourism stall at the airport in the Eastern Cape was not much to look at and it did not help that it was located in a corner.
Ms Ramphele said that the Department of Transport was working with the NDT on the issue of road signage. The NDT had informed the Department of Transport that roads infrastructure needed improvement. The two departments were collaborating. The NDT had a radio campaign in 2014. In 2015 the intention was for SA Tourism to use radio as a means of creating awareness of SA. There was a programme on SABC 3 on Sundays at 5pm called Kaleidoscope that was creating awareness of SA.
Mr Tharage, on greater collaboration between the Committee and the NDT, said it could help if the NDT featured more on the Committee’s Schedule. It would increase the opportunities for dialogue. He recommended that the NDT be given greater opportunity to bring matters to the Committee. On educating South Africans about SA he said that two weeks prior Robben Island had launched a Google Map application that allowed an entire tour to be done online. Regulations attached to the Tourism Act were being developed. The NDT however needed policy direction from the Minister of Tourism. He conceded that most of the NDT’s funds went towards transfers to SA Tourism for marketing purposes.
Mr Ackerman explained that the decrease in the domestic tourism allocation was because less money was given towards EPWP projects and was not based on the poor performance by the NDT. The decrease in funding would be made up in later financial years’ funding.
He stressed that there were procedures in place to monitor transfers. Audits were done on an annual basis. The Public Finance Management Act required recipients of funds to have effective control systems in place.
The Chairperson added that the Minister of Tourism had previously mentioned the tourism hub at OR Tambo International Airport. The only province advertising at OR Tambo International Airport was Kwazulu-Natal. The advertising for Gauteng Province at OR Tambo International Airport was not up to standard.
Mr Tharage suggested that there be collaboration between the Committee and the NDT regarding the OR Tambo International Airport Hub. The idea was for a single desk having overall information on SA. There should not be different provincial kiosks. On the domestic side of things there could be a Gauteng Province desk.
Dr Y Vawda (EFF, Mpumalanga) stated that he was not hearing enough about visitors to SA. The focus was too much on people on holiday, what about visitors coming to SA for business reasons. Internally in SA over weekends there was a movement of thousands of people from big city areas to smaller rural areas. These persons mostly used the minibus taxi as a means of transport. Domestic tourism was therefore very important. If work were done on domestic tourism then the benefits would automatically carry over to international tourists as well. He had enjoyed the Committee’s oversight visit to Mapungubwe. The area was famous as a world heritage site but there needed to be something to attract families to the area. Perhaps a holiday resort could be built so that there was something for the youth and children as well. The area need not only have heritage value. Another area that needed to be advertised was the Namaqualand flowering season. Horticulture was huge in Japan. SA was missing out on Halaal tourism, which was a huge market worth billions of dollars.
Mr Tharage said that the NDT noted the suggestions and ideas that members had made. He agreed that if improvements were made to strengthen the domestic base it would automatically improve for foreign visitors as well.
The Chairperson asked members if they approved of the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Budget of the NDT.
The Committee gave its approval.
Committee Minutes dated 25 February 2015 was adopted without amendment.
The Chairperson announced that the Committee had received an invitation to the NDT’s Tourism Indaba to be held in Durban from the 9 -11 May 2015. He was concerned that the invitation had only been received last Thursday, 30 April 2015. Why was the invitation sent out so late? The Committee needed ample time to work out which members would be attending. Three members who were available to attend: the Chairperson, Mr S Mthimunye (ANC, Mpumalanga) and Mr B Nthebe (ANC, North West).
Members were also invited to a dinner event after the Minister of Tourism presented his budget to the National Assembly. The event was at 6pm on the 14 May 2015.
Ms Shama Nathoo, Parliamentary Liaison Officer: Office of the Minister on Tourism, added that at the Tourism Indaba there would also be a roundtable discussion with Members of Executive Committees (MECs) and inputs by members at these discussions would be appreciated by the Minister.
The Chairperson concluded that on the 3 June 2015 the Committee would come to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to have its debate.
The meeting was adjourned.
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