The National Department of Tourism briefed the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on its fourth quarter performance in 2017/18, and reported that it had achieved 61 of its 68 targets. It had marginally failed to maintain its goal of 50% of women at the senior management service level – the previous Minister had been replaced by a male! – and had not been able to table the draft Tourism Amendment Bill. The Department attributed the delay to the extensive consultation process, which had resulted in new issues being raised for consideration.
Challenges had emanated from the social tourism initiative, with the development of a draft framework for supporting tour operators, as well as the development of one social tourism scheme, which had been inhibited by capacity constraints. Despite this, the Department had embarked upon skills development for the sector, with tourism infrastructure development and tourism support to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), with a bias towards women, youth and people with disabilities. The Department had also ensured prudent use of resources. It had striven to use a targeted approach in order to maximise impact. Broad stakeholder engagement had been conducted, especially among those in townships and rural communities in order to raise awareness about the Department’s programmes and initiatives which may be of benefit to the respective communities.
The Department’s delegation highlighted several aspects of its activities. These included its focus on transformation and support for broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) initiatives, skills training and job creation, regional integration, destination enhancement projects, the implementation of Blue Flag programmes at 75 beaches, and the development of a tourist guide register.
Members wanted to know if the Department’s creation of jobs was cost effective, and if the impact of the training programmes was being measured. They asked about legislation pertaining to illegal guiding, and what the Department could do to speed up the responses to visitors’ complaints. It was suggested that municipalities in rural areas should be approached to identify candidates for training and skills upgrading. The Department was urged to ensure that its training programmes were aligned with the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) so that the trainees’ qualifications were recognised.
The Chairperson asked the Committee’s Content Advisor, Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, to introduce a newly-appointed researcher to the Committee. He introduced Ms Sisanda Loni, who was a researcher at uMalusi when she was recruited. Her background also consisted of tourism qualifications and lecturing at Nelson Mandela University. She was given an opportunity to greet the Committee. The National Department of Tourism (NDT) responded by introducing the members of its delegation.
National Department of Tourism Quarter 4 performance
Ms Lulama Duma, Deputy Director General: Corporate Management, NDT, said that she was an Acting Director General on the day. The Department continued to implement its mandate of promoting tourism through inclusive economic growth. Its strategic impetus was to create an enabling policy environment for people pertaining to tourism sector skills development and places for special planning, focusing on township tourism and the oceans economy. The presentation would deal with how these broad strategies the Department had executed linked with their programmes and projects, with a focus on transformation of the sector, research and knowledge management, sector skills development, destination development and management, small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) development, responsible tourism and regulatory intervention. The Department had also striven to attain good corporate governance through efficient and effective use of government resources. There had been 68 quarterly targets, of which the Department had achieved 61 (89.7%).
Programme 1 challenges had included small and medium enterprise (SME) women’s representation, which had fallen just below the 50% target set by the Department. She would later indicate what the reason for the decline was. The Department was also not able to table the Draft Amendment Bill to Parliament.
Program 4 challenges emanated from the social tourism initiative undertaken by the Department -- the development of a draft framework for supporting tour operators, as well as the development of one social tourism scheme. There was also a challenge with regard to Cape Town International Airport, the National Tourism Gateway.
Despite being met with challenges, the Department had embarked upon skills development for the sector, with tourism infrastructure development and tourism support to SMMEs, with a bias towards women, youth and people with disabilities. The Department had also ensured prudent use of resources. It had striven to use a targeted approach in order to maximise impact. Broad stakeholder engagement had been conducted, especially among those in townships and rural communities in order to raise awareness about the Department’s programmes and initiatives which may be of benefit to the respective communities.
Program 2: Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations
Ms Anemé Malan, Deputy Director General: Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations, said that in quarter four, the program had 15 targets and that all of them had been achieved. She would go through each target and would highlight what had been done.
The first key performance indicator (KPI) referred to the number of platforms used to facilitate stakeholder engagement. Three platforms had been targeted. The first was the National Tourism Stakeholder Forum. The DG met with key stakeholders with the view to discussing progress pertaining to the implementation of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS).
The second platform was the hosting of the annual public lecture, usually hosted during Tourism Month, which was comprised of a high level discussion for the theme in Tourism Month. The target in the fourth quarter was the development of the concept document for the 2018/2019 annual public lecture in September 2018. The document had been developed. The Department also hosted an annual research public seminar, a conduit for circulating the research the Department undertakes in conjunction with the universities with which the Department had a Memorandum of Understanding, as well as with students given sponsorship by the Department to do their postgraduate studies. The research seminar was hosted in March, and had been a success. The Department had also managed to conduct a workshop about the tools it developed on the periphery of the seminar.
The second KPI was related to the number of policy bulletins formulated. The Department developed two annually. One was a tourism policy bulletin which proactively tracks policy development in the sector it was published. The second developed a policy position in relation to the negative, unintended consequences of the sharing economy, especially the accommodation sector. The second target was related to the evaluation of the food safety programme. The evaluation report had been produced and was available. The third report referred to evaluation of the Tourism Incentive Program, but was geared towards a market access incentive. The report had been prepared and was available. The fourth was an implementation report on the national tourism strategy. The implementation report for the 2016/17 year had been prepared in this quarter.
The fourth KPI was related to the number of systems and information frameworks the Department developed and maintained. The third target related to the concept of the development of the national tourism information management system. This had been completed. The second target pertained to the training of youth as data capturers for the collection of national tourism information and monitoring system (NTIMS) data. The final report, on the implementation of the training programmes for data capturers for collection of the NTIMS data, had been developed.
The next target spoke to the two mobile applications -- tourist guides and visitor information centres. The quarterly target was on the maintenance of the two applications. The report had been developed and was available.
Key performance indicator five was on the number of initiatives facilitated in multilateral forums, with one of the initiatives referring to a draft plan for hosting of a tourism work stream during the 2018/19 BRICS Summit. The target for quarter four had been to develop a draft plan. The second initiative was to draw up a final plan for the hosting of a tourism work stream during South Africa’s chairing of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The report on the rolling out of the hosting implementation plan had been developed.
The sixth KPI pertained to the number of initiatives facilitated for regional integration. This included two initiatives -- hosting the Ministerial Session at the 2017 Tourism Indaba, and hosting the Sharing of Best Practices Workshop targeted at African countries with which SA had signed tourism agreements. The fourth quarter target of having a final concept document for the 2018 Indaba developed had been met. The other target for the second initiative of a Sharing of Best Practices Workshop was met. It was hosted from 19 to 23 February 2018 in Mpumalanga.
Programme 3: Destination Development
Ms Shamilla Chettiar, Deputy Director General: Destination Development, said there were eight targets last year. Six were achieved in quarter four, and two were not achieved.
Key Performance Indicator One pertained to the number of destination enhancement initiatives implemented. The annual target was to monitor the implementation of four destination initiatives:
- Shangoni Gate tourism development in Kruger National Park;
- Phalaborwa Wild Activity Hub in Kruger National Park;
- National Heritage Monument Park Interpretation Centre;
- Signage at identified National Heritage sites -- SANParks Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Golden Gate National Park, Gugulethu Seven Memorial, and the Sarah Baartman Heritage Site.
In quarter four, targets included implementation progress reports on four destination enhancement projects in terms of construction progress, memoranda of agreements concluded, management of transferred funds, signage erected, stakeholder meetings and site visits. The actual performance data included an implementation progress report on four destination enhancement projects completed, and site visits were conducted. The report covered progress made at Shangoni Gate, Phalaborwa Wild Activity Hub, National Heritage Monument Park Interpretation Centre, and Signage at identified Heritage sites.
Another annual target was having one programme facilitating the implementation of the Blue Flag programme at 25 additional South African beaches. The target was to monitor the implementation of the Blue Flag Programme at the 75 beaches. The implementation of the programme was achieved. Another of the annual projects was the One Route project, the Indi Atlantic Route. The target was a consolidated demand and supply analysis report, with an implementation plan which was developed.
Ms Chettiar said that there were two additional initiatives -- the development of a destination planning manual and looking at methodology for the development of tourism precincts. The destination manual was finalised and the precinct methodology was finalised.
Key Performance Indicator Two referred to a number of Working for Tourism projects funded through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Seven projects were funded according to the annual targets:
- NW Letlamoreng Dam
- Phiphidi Waterfall
- Platfontein Game Farm
- National Youth Chefs
- Sommelier Training Course
- Youth in Hospitality Service Training Programme
- Food Safety Programme
Quarter four targets were comprised of transfer payments based on satisfactory progress reports made. Actual performance revealed that there was no request for payment for the NW Letlamoreng Dam and the LP Phiphidi Waterfall. The reason why this target was not met was because the Letlamareng Dam project was being assessed by the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) team, which said the project needed to be reconceptualised. There were no funds dispersed for this project as a result. The reconceptualisation of the project was currently taking place and could be complete. The last target, which was not complete, related to quintile equivalent jobs, which was a result of student drop outs.
KPI three pertains to the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs created through the Working for Tourism programme per year. The annual target was to have 3 085 FTE jobs created. The quarter four target was to create 1 080 FTE jobs. Actual performance data revealed that 832 FTE jobs were created. The reason for the discrepancy was that there were numerous dropouts across various programmes, as well as the fact that 922 learners completed their learnerships at the end of quarter three. Even though the quarter four target was not met, the annual target had been exceeded.
Programme 4: Tourism Sector Support Services (TSSS)
In this program, there were 28 targets, with 25 targets achieved and three not achieved. There was significant progress made from quarter three to quarter four, as there had been an increase from 19 to 25 targets achieved.
The first KPI was related to the number of initiatives supported to promote Broad-based Black Eeconomic Empowerment (B-BBEE) implementation. There were four initiatives supported to promote B-BBEE implementation. The first was having a monitoring report on the implementation of the amended tourism B-BBEE sector code developed, which was met in quarter four. The second was having a tourism sector transformation Indaba. The target of developing a report on the transformation indaba had been met. The third initiative was to have guidelines for the commercialisation of state-owned attractions. The concession report was completed and it was hoped that it would be gazetted. The fourth initiative was to establish funding mechanisms through partnerships with development finance institutions (DFIs) to support tourism sector transformation. The final report on funding mechanisms and DFI partnerships established to support tourism sector transformation, had been developed.
KPI two was related to the number of social tourism initiatives undertaken. The Department had found the initiative of providing a framework for supporting tour operators to facilitate social tourism particularly challenging, as the both the quarterly target and the annual target were not met. Actual results for quarter four were that a draft framework for supporting tour operators to facilitate social tourism had been developed. The reason for the variance was that finalisation of the framework was affected by capacity constraints. A corrective measure outlined was that some work on the framework and scheme should have started before the end of the financial year; but finalisation would be only at the end of 2018/19.
The second initiative was to develop one social tourism scheme. Part of this was about creating the next generation of tourists. The annual target for this initiative was not achieved. Actual quarter four data revealed that one draft social tourism scheme had been developed internally. The reason for the discrepancy was that the finalisation of the framework was affected by capacity constraints. Corrective measures included some work on the framework and scheme being started before the end of the financial year, but finalisation would be only at the end of 2018/19.
The third KPI dealt with the implementation of the enterprise development programme. The annual target for this was to have 400 enterprises supported with training and development. The annual target here was actually exceeded, given that there was one more incubator than planned. The annual progress report on training and development support provided to enterprises had been developed and was in place.
The next target dealt with the development of the long-term framework for enterprise development, based on current policy pronouncements. The target was to have the Enterprise Development (ED) long-term framework approved, and this was achieved.
KPI four referred to the number of incubators implemented. The annual target was to have two existing incubators supported and one new incubator established. The target of having a new incubator established was exceeded, as two new incubators were established -- on 2 March 2018 in Phalaborwa (Limpopo), and on 20 March 2018 in Mier (Northern Cape). Therefore, there were four incubators in total. The reason for the variance was that an executive decision on the launch of an additional incubator had been taken and implemented.
KPI five involved the number of priority areas to support the implementation of responsible tourism. Annual targets included four incentive programmes supported with funding. These included market access, tourism grading, energy efficiency and universal accessibility (pilot). The Department had found that through a grading system, a rebate system did not really work. The programme had been adjusted with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. After two years of running, there was data which showed a good return on investment had been realised by some businesses.
The Department wanted the tourist guides register audited in order to ensure that legitimate people were guiding tourists. The Department also sought to have an upgrade of the security features on the tourist guide identification badges. These had been developed for production.
The Department worked in partnership with the provinces in rolling out the National Tourism Information Gateways (NTIGs). The challenge with the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) was that there was limited space at airports. There were negotiations with both provinces at OR Tambo and King Shaka International Airport. An arrangement had been made about how the departments would share the space in order to achieve both a provincial tourism information gateway and a national tourism information gateway. There were challenges with using the same model at Cape Town International Airport. This was because the province wanted to apply a different model in terms of how they operated the information gateway. By the end of the year, the Department could not come to an agreement about how they would share the space. Discussions with the Western Cape were still ongoing. At OR Tambo, the agreement was that the space would be shared between tourism and ACSA. This year, there were two tourism information gateways. Unfortunately, the gateway at the Cape Town International Airport could not be developed.
This quarter, a total of 15 complaints had been received from tourists. 13 of the complaints were domestic, and two were international. Three of the complaints were related to theft, and two were issues of poor service – for example, discrepancies between what had been advertised and what was charged upon the arrival of the guest. There had been one complaint of racial discrimination. Patrons at a restaurant had noticed that their bill had the description “Blacks” written on it. Some had the description “Whites” written on it. The customers had lodged a formal complaint. There had been five instances in which customers had sought a refund. Typical cases included double payment being taken off credit cards and the lengthy time it took for the complaints to be resolved once communicated with management. A compensation incident related to a passenger who was not allowed to board a flight with a guide dog. The customer felt aggrieved and requested compensation for being treated poorly and for the flight fare. One customer wanted a written apology. Four complaints had been received in the North West Province and the Western Cape respectively. Gauteng and KZN had received three complaints each. One complaint was received from the Free State, while the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo had no complaints registered. Of the 15 complaints, six had an ‘in progress’ status, seven had been referred, and two were closed.
Ms Chettiar stated that there were several skills programmes, and that she would highlight only some of these. The National Youth Chefs programme had been successful, and had trained 577 youths with an approximately 80% placement rate. 2 300 youths had been trained as part of the Sommelier programme and 2 000 youths had been trained in the Youth in Hospitality Service training programme. 500 youths had been enrolled in the Food Safety programme. The quarterly target had been not met for this particular area, but the annual targets had been exceeded in this area of work. The number of dropouts in the programme had been mitigated by an adjustment in the number of recruits.
The report on human resources (HR) recommended that the Department needed to pay attention to how this aspect was coordinated between the government, the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality, Sports, Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), and the private sector. The concept report for the above had been finalised. The next target dealt with capacity building, and working with municipalities. All those targets had been achieved. The Department’s 20 black women executives programme, in partnership with the University of South Africa (UNISA) was on track. The Tourist Guide programme consisted of upskilling existing guides at world heritage sites, and the training of new entrants in adventure guiding and development programmes for guides. All these programs were on track. This year the programmes had been implemented in Mapungubwe and Ukhahlamba.
Sixty youths had been trained in the energy efficiency programme, which was aimed at enabling young people to do energy efficiency audits. This was similar to the grading programme, which trained assessors.
Programme 1 – Corporate Management
Ms Duma said that there were 17 targets, of which the Department had achieved 15.
KPI 1 refers to the number of strategic documents developed. The 2018/2019 Annual Performance Plan (APP) was delivered to the Minister, as well as tabled in Parliament at the end of the quarter. The third quarter performance reports for 2017/18 were submitted to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) on 31 January 2018, and the third quarter risk analysis report for 2017/18 was prepared for adoption by the risk management committee (RMC).
KPI 2 speaks to the number of public entity oversight reports prepared. These were reports which were prepared when quarterly reports were received from South African Tourism (SAT). The SAT quarterly oversight report was prepared.
KPI 3 deals with the vacancy rate. Ms Duma reminded the Committee that at the beginning of 2017/2018, the vacancy rate was high, sitting at 14.8%. The quarterly target was that it should not exceed 8%. Due to a restructuring, this was met as it was brought down to 6.2%.
KPI 4 addresses the percentage of women representation at senior management service (SMS) level, representation for people with disabilities, and black representation. This was one of the targets which the Department had not achieved. The fourth quarter target was to maintain a minimum of 50% women representation at SMS level, but achieved 49.3%. This was the case because of the departure of the female Minister of Tourism and her replacement by the appointment of a male Minister. The corrective measure here, according to the Department, was to continue to endeavour to appoint females at this level as opportunities to do so presented themselves. The Department also had a quarterly target of maintaining a minimum of 3% of people with disabilities. This target was surpassed, as the Department maintained a 4.7% representation level. The Department also had a quarterly target of maintaining a minimum of 91.5% black representation in staff. This target was exceeded, as 95.3% black representation was maintained.
KPI 5 refers to the development and percentage implementation of a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) with targeted training interventions. The quarterly target was set at 20% implementation of WSP. Quarter 4 actual data show that 20% of WSP was implemented through two skills programmes, and advertisements for internal and external bursaries, where 20 and 30 were awarded respectively. The skills programme comprised of training on supply chain management (SCM) for 20 officials from 12 to 16 March 2018. The skills program also included South African protocol training for 25 officials on 15 March 2018. The benefits of this included an understanding of international and regional differences in protocol and etiquette between different cultures and nations.
KPI 6 speaks to the percentage compliance with prescripts on the management of labour relations matters. The fourth quarter target was a 100% compliance rate in the management and handling of grievances, misconduct, disputes and collective bargaining. This target was met.
KPI 7 deals with the implementation of the Information Communication Technology Strategic Plan (ICTSP). The target of successfully updating the tourism website, the tourism portal update, the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), as well as ICT service, was met.
KPI 8 refers to the number of quarterly and annual financial statements compiled and submitted. The target of having second quarter interim financial statements compiled and submitted to National Treasury was met.
KPI 9 relates to the percentage implementation of the annual internal audit plan. The target of 15% implementation of the annual internal audit plan was met.
KPI 10 deals with the percentage implementation of the communication strategy (media engagement, branding, events management, internal and intergovernmental communications and community engagements / izimbizo). The 100% target was achieved.
KPI 11 speaks to amendments to the Tourism Act being drafted. The target of a draft amendment bill introduced into Parliament was not achieved. This was because introduction of the bill to Parliament was affected by the need to finalise a policy review and analysis in order to inform the drafting of the bill in the areas of a sharing economy and the professionalising of tourist guiding. The corrective measure for the above was that the drafting of the amendment bill had commenced, and was in the process of being finalised for gazetting and approval.
KPI 12 relates to the percentage procurement from B-BBEE compliant businesses. The target of 100% procurement from B-BBEE-compliant businesses was achieved.
Mr Ralph Ackermann, Chief Financial Officer, said that the Department’s figures had already been audited by the Auditor General, and were reported at the end of July 2018. Spending at the end of the financial year was 99.7% of the budget – a variance of only R6.1 million. The amount which was available at the end of the year for enterprise and visitor support services was R4.8 million. He explained that this was a committed amount which had already been paid in the 2018/2019 financial year. The expenditure by economic classification showed a variance of a mere R613 000.
There was approval from National Treasury to increase the compensation of employees’ budget by R12 million at the end of the financial year, with appropriate adjustments for different levels. The Foreign Governments and International Organisations amount, which was an amount paid to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, showed R244 000 left at the end of the year. This was linked to the exchange rate. Due to deliverables which were not yet made, there was still R313 000 which could not be paid.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) introduced himself, and joked about the fact that despite being the official opposition, they had a numerical majority on the day. He asked about whether or not what was done was measured. In this regard, he alluded to the training programmes for chefs and parts of the performance report which spoke about the number of permanent full-time jobs created. He said that the quarterly target may have been missed, but the annual target had been achieved, which was good news. He was interested to know if each department was knowledgeable about whether they had attained optimal resource utilisation. He wanted to know if the creation of full-time jobs was creating value for money. Had there been a cost-benefit analysis? Was there benchmarking in terms of cost of programmes and output? Was there a comparison of the cost of creation of full-time jobs in other departments and other sectors of the economy? He wanted to know how sure the Department was about its cost-benefit analysis due to the limited resources available for departments. He thought that it was costing twice as much to create a job than other industries with equivalent programmes. If it was costing the Department less to create a job, there was a case for more to be done in that particular department. Money needed to be spent as efficiently as possible. He wanted to know if that kind of analysis was ongoing regarding the benchmarking of programmes.
Mr J Vos (DA) said he wanted to probe four points. Firstly, was the legislation regarding guide training to be amended? He wanted to know about legislation pertaining to illegal guiding, the quality of guiding, capacity building etc.
This led to his next question -- the Tourism Amendment Bill. It had been mentioned on several occasions that the amendments to the Bill would be tabled before the Committee and that it was in the process of being finalised at the end of this term, but it had not been seen by the Committee yet. He sought an update about the Tourism Amendment Bill.
He said he had made use of the Tourism Complaints Officer a few times, and that there had been a delay when receiving acknowledgement of receipt, progress and the outcome. He acknowledged the fact that many of the complaints did not sit within the Department of Tourism, and that the Department was playing the role of an intermediary to ensure that the complaints were delivered to the appropriate department. Given that the Tourism Complaints Officer sat within the Department, mechanisms needed to be found to streamline the workings of this particular office, so that it did not affect the Department of Tourism negatively. There should be a review of the workings of the Tourism Complaints Officer, who was originally called the Tourism Ombudsman. The name had since changed to be the Tourism Complaints Officer. He understood where it came from and what the intention was. However, he felt that there needed to be a review of the workings of the Tourism Complaints Officer in order to get the best outcomes.
Lastly, pertaining to the Blue Flag Beaches -- what was being done to evaluate performance indicators in order to achieve the best possible outcomes? The Department had indicated that they had 50 targets and had added another 25, and that all 75 had been reached. He wanted to know what it really entailed, because coming from government, he had knowledge of how the Blue Flags worked. The Department had been positioned in such a way as to use the coastline as an attraction to promote domestic tourism. Given South Africa’s position on the continent, it made it unique in every sense -- two oceans and great potential if the coastline was leveraged better. He said that using the Blue Flag tool or indicator was not enough. He wanted to know what was being done with the Blue Flags. He was aware that there were employment opportunities, but wanted to know what was really being done to ensure that the Blue Flags contributed to the tourism landscape.
Mr S Bekwa (ANC) said that the Department had made mention of transformation in their presentation, which he viewed to be critical. The presentation had made mention of a skills transfer. He wanted to know how the skills transfer was going to take place. He would advise the Department to consider municipalities, because they had a database of people which could be obtained and used to train them. The main focus should be on rural areas. Most people in rural areas were still disadvantaged. He wanted to know if the municipalities were being considered as an area used to connect with people on the ground.
The Chairperson said she was pleased to know that the Department was mitigating against the issue of dropouts. She wanted to know whether its programmes had been aligned to CATHSSETA, because the Department had previously said that they would align the training in conjunction with the private sector. Her second question related to the Social Tourism Project. The Department had mentioned that the reason why they were not achieving their target was due to capacity constraints. She believed that was a bit “offish,” because when the Department was restructured, the issue of capacity had also been addressed. What was the actual problem here? What was the Department mitigating against in order to solve this problem? What was it going to do?
Her last question was about the Draft Amendment Bill. There had been mention of the sharing economy, but not much in depth information had been provided in order to explain what was hindering the Department from meeting their target. She had seen the sharing economy mentioned in four previous presentations, but the issue of the sharing economy had stunted the progress of the Department in producing the Bill. She encouraged the Department to extrapolate regarding the matter.
Ms Malan said she would deal with the question regarding the return on investment regarding skills transfer. In this financial year, in the Department’s monitoring and evaluation programme, it was doing an evaluation on the skills programme in order to ascertain what Mr Krumbock had alluded to. She was not certain that the Department, in its conceptualisation, had thought about comparing the Department’s programmes to other similar ones. She took that as a good input into the work that they were doing, and said that they were conducting an evaluation this year.
Ms Chettiar said that there was in fact a benchmark around jobs that were created. The custodians of the programme were the Department of Public Works (DPW). When they set targets around what the number of FTEs would be per sector, they looked at the nature of the training programmes within the sectors. The Department reported within the environmental sector, and that there was an average cost per job created. This was benchmarked against the nature of the programme. The Department formed part of Arts and Culture, as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs. They looked at the skills training programmes, and there was a comparativeness between them -- how many jobs were created in a year within that space, and a benchmark for the cost of a job.
She said that a major challenge faced by the Department was that it had no other budget except the EPWP and the Tourism Centre’s programme, and they each came with their own guidelines around how one utilised them. The EPWP had been used for both skills development and infrastructure development. The challenge with the programme was that the Department was benchmarked in terms of a skills Development programme, but the cost per job was to create in an infrastructure space. There was a constant back and forth with the DPW because of the above. When programmes were rolled out to the EPWP, they had a higher cost to create jobs. The Department was now at the end of the funding cycle of the EPWP. The Department was yet to hear whether or not it would continue into the new term of office, but it was very likely to continue. The Department was conducting such discussions directly with National Treasury and the EPWP. This would enable the Department to better ascertain which portion of their budget would be allocated to skills development, so it would like to use the benchmark for skills, as portion of its budget was infrastructure-related and it would like to use that portion for infrastructure.
She said there was certainly a benchmarking exercise with the DPW. That was how they set the rates and targets, viewing the sectors they deemed to be comparable. What Ms Malan had been referring to were the assessments which the Department did periodically in order to make sure that the government was getting a return on investment, and that the Department was not over-capitalising when the programme did not yield good results. For each of the different skills development programmes, the Department did know what the actual cost per job was, and the nature of those jobs were different.
She said the Department had not met the targets set by the Department of Public Works when it came to tourism -- consciously so, because the Department did want to roll out infrastructure development through the type of funding available.
Ms Chettiar said the National Youth Chefs programme was a 3 year programme, and was monitored through the Chef’s Association. The Department did not necessarily have a program to track the youths after their learnerships, but was aware of this and needed to find a way to monitor it in a way that made sense. The jobs were of a short–term nature.
The draft legislation for guides training had been published in 2016. It was not changing the Act for guiding itself. There were specific regulations that dealt with guiding. They had been published and there had been a period allowing for public commentary. The regulations had been finalised and were now in place. Work had already been done in terms of the regulations.
Ms Chettiar conceded that there were indeed delays regarding complaints and responsiveness, and acknowledged the potential reputational damage it could have for the Department. She agreed that the delays were not necessarily caused by the Department, but referrals were made to the relevant parties. The Department was not always aware as to when those parties would respond. She also agreed that there could be ways to streamline the process.
She said that there were 50 Blue Flag beaches. Work done on those beaches was to ensure that they were safe, clean and continued to meet the Blue Flag standards. Aligned with this was a Green Coast Programme, which entailed looking at beaches which had Blue Flag status before, and had lost the status because conditions on those beaches had deteriorated, or beaches which had the potential to become Blue Flag beaches but needed work on infrastructure, safety or cleanliness. She said that beach stewards collected information on beaches, providing research on sites. The Department was working on upgrading the infrastructure on some beaches, and maintaining the infrastructure. This was being done in order to ensure that the Department was maintaining the status of existing Blue Flag beaches, but also improving the potential of beaches which could be Blue Flag beaches and upgrading them so that they met those standards. The Department also set very clear standards on what the criteria were, which made the monitoring work and implementation easier.
Ms Chettiar responded on the issue of transformation, and said that the question posed was whether or not municipalities were collaborated with in implementing the above, and whether or not rural areas were targeted. She said the approach was multi-faceted. There was a programme in which the Department was working with provinces, specifically local governments, around capacity building, and how the Department could contribute to building tourism capacity in those areas and uplift standards in order for them to translate it into their Integrated Development Plans (IDP’s) and service delivery on the ground. The second approach used by the Department was work done with businesses through Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) incubators. These were located in rural areas. This was done in order to take those individuals who had started working in the sector, to the next level. This was providing hard skills in running a business, but also giving them access to markets.
All this work was linked with the “Hidden Gems” programme, which takes businesses at various stages and increases their capacity in order for them to be able to use both the domestic and international platforms of the Department. There was also intervention through the skills development programme, which was rolled out in predominantly rural areas. There were also exceptions, because there also had to be work where there were thriving tourism businesses. The programme was used not only as an introduction into the sector for young people, but also FTE’s of those jobs through skills used in bringing about transformation.
Transformation was a large element, and there were multiple ways in which the Department was trying to target it. For instance, in the guiding sector, the Department was dealing with new entrants into the market and skilling them. A specific programme was geared towards new tour operators and linking them with access to markets. All of these were intertwined with the social tourism programme, which was about negotiating with the various tourist attractions in the country in order to have access for people who were very young or old, and had never travelled before. Part of that was about allowing for an education about what the tourism sector was. There was a lot of integration around the transformation programme. The whole programme of action for transformation, done with the private sector, could be used in supporting some programmes with young people, the placement of people who were trained in the Department’s business programmes, but also how they supported mentorship of SMMEs. The programme had gained traction, and work had been done with commercial banks on how their work with SMME development and support would work within the tourism sector. She emphasised that transformation was one of the foremost goals in their agenda.
She said that there was alignment with CATHSSETA training programmes, and that all their programmes were accredited. Where there was a need for a specific programme, and CATHSSETA did not have one, the Department worked with it to create a programme to ensure that training undergone by participants in the EPWP was accredited.
Regarding capacity Issues which had led to a lack of target achievement in the social tourism sector, she responded that the restructuring process meant that in some cases, there was not a complete fit between the job and the individual placed in the job. It was not a question about whether or not there was the right number of jobs, but was related to the reskilling of staff. The Department had gone through a deliberate programme of training individuals, with on the job training and actual external training. The reason why these targets were not met was because the team working internally had done a draft of the documents, but due to the fact that they were not necessarily well-versed in those areas, the documents were not of the expected strategic level or value. The capacity issues pertained to on the job training and people growing in confidence in their jobs, rather than having enough people.
Ms Duma dealt with the question posed to her specific area of responsibility -- the Tourism Amendment Bill and the Department’s staff complement. She said the Department had reported on the Bill at various platforms, including recently at the Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) indaba. What usually happened was that when the Department reported to their stakeholders, further issues come up. She would allude to what the issues were. There were six issues she wanted to highlight. There were two which Members would remember -- the governance of South African Tourism (SAT) by a board, as well as the management and implementation of the national grading system by SAT. When the amendments were made to the Bill, the former Minister had challenged the Department about the issue of the sharing economy, looking at how online platforms were being used to secure accommodation, with the most prominent player in the sphere being Airbnb. There was no stopping other players from doing what Airbnb had done. She said the issue was regulation, which was a similar issue which had arisen with Uber. Online platforms were bypassing applicable regulation which other players had to adhere to. The amendment was attempting to correct this issue. For example, one of the issues they were grappling with was ‘how one defined a short-term rental. Airbnb could be classified as providing a short-term rental and could not really be classified as providing a full-term rental, like someone who was renting an apartment. The Department was trying to address the issue and to determine thresholds for short-term rentals. They were looking at such issues pertaining to accommodation, not a case like Uber.
The rest of the amendments were to do with guiding. The Department recognised that there was an increase in the number of ‘fly-by-night’ guides who had entered the space. One of the tools the Department was looking at was creating a tourist guide institute which would regulate the space, ensuring that the individuals and bodies involved were well regulated and were compliant. The Department was also looking at the competency requirements for tour guides. In that regard, it was working closely with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). SAQA was not playing the role of monitoring, but would hold those qualifications. The other area would be to prohibit what was a safety risk for operators -- individuals who were both guides and drivers.
She said the issue which created delays was the extent of consultation. The longer one consulted, the more issues arose. The Minister had stated that there needed to be a point arrived at where there were amendments presented, and they were ready to go to Cabinet in order to request to go for public comment. The Department was aware of the fact that they had been with the Committee a couple of times and they were still working on the Bill. The Department had indicated that in the new financial year, the Bill amendment must come to Parliament and it was working tirelessly to do that. She felt that she was not doing justice as far as providing details about the amendment of the bill, and would be happy for the Department to return to provide greater details.
Ms Chettiar asked to make a minor correction. She said that the draft regulation for guiding had been published in 2016, but delays in the process had resulted in the final regulations not being published. She just wanted to clarify that. The Department had already done a lot of work around the forms, new badges and ID cards, and those were actually attachments which had been published with the regulations. This was perhaps fortuitous, because those attachments would be added to the regulations.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee and the National Department of Tourism for a fruitful and informative engagement. She said that other items which were not dealt with on the agenda would have to be deferred to the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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