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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 and 4 March 2003
WORKSHOP WITH DEPARTMENT ON BUSINESS PLAN
Chairpersons: Minister Valli Moosa and Rev Peter Moatshe
Documents handed out:
Overview of DEAT Strategic Plan and priorities for 2003/4
Marine and Coastal Management Branch and MLRF (including Antarctica and Islands)
Biodiversity and Conservation Branch
National Botanical Institute
Greater St Lucia Wetland Park Authority
Environmental Planning and Coordination
Environmental Quality and Protection
SA Weather Services
World Parks Congress
Tourism Grading Council
Corporate Affairs and Transformation
The workshop was an opportunity for the department's top management to present their business plans to the two committees. Also presenting their business plans were SA Tourism, The Tourism Branch and the Tourism Grading Council.
Introductory remarks made by the Minister:
The Minister expressed his satisfaction with the budget allocation of R1.4 billion his department had received. He emphasised that R300 million will be used for poverty relief.
Mr Moosa highlighted two of the new tax proposals:
- the increase in departure tax will lead to an additional R300 million to be used for future marketing.
- the levy on plastic bags, which will be collected by the South African Revenue Services. An agreement on this levy was reached during meetings with the private sector and trade unions. The tax is gathered from the manufacturers. This is an opportunity for unemployed people to make money from picking up plastic bags, as is currently the practice with cans and newspapers. The minister added that there is a revised minimum thickness for the bags and a limit on the amount of printing allowed on the bags. A section 21 company will be set up to administer these changes as of May 2003. This would set the tone for other SADC countries. The levy on plastic bags will be used as a case study for other fiscal instruments that are environment-related.
Mr Moosa told the workshop that he recently had talks with his Somali counterpart. He was told that there are companies offering toxic waste disposal services in Europe and elsewhere. These companies dump the toxic waste on the Somali coastline as they have not had an official government for a number of years and there are no laws to break. They have asked for South Africa's help. He stressed South Africa's role in African development.
The Minister also highlighted the Growth and Development Summit coming up this year and the department's continued interest in NEPAD.
Mr Moosa reported that there is a lack of black tour operators in the industry. He added that the attitude of some of the tour guides towards especially the government is often very negative. He asked the committees to do some research on this issue.
The Minister commented on the search for South Africa's most recognizable icon. It had become clear that one single icon will serve the country better than a bunch of them. Research has shown that Table Mountain is the most recognizable.
Strong emphasis will be put on capacity building and skills development. He had asked for a list of skills needed in the department and that he will find the money to fill those skill gaps. Continued emphasis would be placed on work ethic and ethical standards in terms of Batho Pele in the department. He also announced that during the year he will partake in unscheduled visits and check ups.
Strategic Plan and priorities for 2003/4 for DEAT and its agencies
Please see above presentation documents for an overview.
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