The Department of Tourism (DT) briefed the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on the 2nd and 3rd quarter performance for the financial year 2018/19. The Department achieved 86.67% of its targets for the 2nd quarter and achieved 71.08% of its targets for the 3rd quarter. The appointment and finding of service providers was cited as an issue that was faced by the branches of the DT in achieving their targets for both quarters.
The DT faced many delays due to the inability of finding suitable service providers and the Committee wanted to know what the DT is doing to solve this persisting issue. The Department has teamed to spend at least a month in adjudicating for panels of service providers. The DT shared their plans of setting up panels of prequalified service providers which will be in place for the skills development programmes next year and also set up a panel that looks into the Built Environment professional that can attend to the issues around infrastructure project so that the DT does not go out on an open tender every time there is a skills development programme and work with prequalified panel in place. The Department believes this solution will help address the problem of finding service providers that hinders on the DT achieving their targets.
The Committee expressed their concerns with the date of the Women in Tourism (WiT) annual event and suggested that it should be hosted in August or September as these months have significance for the event. August is women’s month and September is tourism month and that will result in the event gaining media attention. The recommendation by the Committee was accepted by the DT and agreed that changing the date will result in the event achieving its goal of engaging women on issues that affect women in the industry and the role of women in the industry and government.
The Committee expressed their concern with the dropout rate from the DT programmes, especially due to pregnancy of young women. The Committee suggested that women who dropout due to pregnancy was absorbed back into the programmes as pregnancy is natural. There was also confusion from the Committee on the route that DT was taking when it came to incubator in the industry. The Department stated that the nature of the work makes it difficult for business owners to leave their businesses and congregate in one place hence they prefer the virtual incubation route.
The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from the Department of Tourism (DT) and said that the purpose of the meeting was to deliberate on the actual performance for the 2nd quarter and preliminary performance of the 3rd quarter and give input and comments on the report.
Briefing by Department of Tourism on 2nd and 3rd Quarter Performance 2018/19
Mr Victor Tharage, Director General, Department of Tourism, started off by showing appreciation with the way the DT and the Committee have worked together.
He began the presentation by giving an overview of the overall performance of the tourism sector in the 2nd quarter. He indicated that in the 2nd quarter the performance of the sector was 86.67% work completed, 6.67% of significant work done but not yet completed. He moved onto the 3rd quarter preliminary performance which was not yet audited by the internal auditors, which was 71.08% work completed, and 18.07%signifiant work done but not completed, 10.84% not done. He stated that the DT spends most of the time outside the office, on site visits to gain in-depth understanding on what is going on, and what could be done better; there are also project managers regularly who submit report on the progress on the ground. The site visits give serious insight on the dynamics of different communities and how they could affect the projects of the sector. He reported that the visits give an insight on how the DT can best reengineer their projects and get the community involved considering the different dynamics and structure of different communities.
Ms Aneme Malan, Deputy Director-General: Tourism Research Policy and International Relations, DT, stated that 92.31% of the Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations targets was met in the 2nd quarter with 3.85% targets not met, with 89.47% of the targets achieved in the preliminary 3rd quarter and 5.26% not achieved in her branch of the sector. She reported on the target to create two facilitation initiatives specifically an analysis of airlift to equip her team with knowledge and information when engaging with stakeholders. The team sits on several forums and platforms where airlift is discussed, and it is important for her team to have the knowledge and information on airlift. Her division targeted different regions quarterly by conducting an analysis to help with stakeholder engagement. She noted that similar work and targets were set when it came to visas as the team had quarterly reports to inform stakeholder engagements. She mentioned that this engagement helps her branch when they are engaging with the Department of Home Affairs when rolling out the stimulus package. She reported that they are on track with the targets of two facilitation initiatives and should be able to deliver on the work that work that needs to be done before the end of the year.
Ms Malan reported on the Tourism Public Lecture and the Tourism Research Seminar, which were two dissemination platforms targeted for the year. In both dissemination platforms her branch met the targets for the 2nd quarter and is on track to meet the targets for the 3rd quarter. She reported the first of the 22 reports developed on monitoring and evaluation, in the 2nd quarter the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) implementation report was drafted and the Tourism Stakeholders Forums is on track with delivering on its targets. She stated that her branch is on track to deliver on the targets of the State of Tourism report for the 2nd and 3rd quarter. She stated that targets on the departmental capacity-building programmes and data collection have not commenced due to delays caused by not finding suitable service providers. She stated that the department does not have the internal capacity to do the data collection and her branch has been working hard to reach the targets for the year. She reported on National Tourism Information and Monitoring Systems (NTIMS), and the division is behind on the data collection and for six provinces her team could not find the suitable service providers, other than that her is on track with the targets. She mentioned that her team is behind on data collection evaluation and finding service providers. She stated that her team is on track with the facilitation of multilateral fora and bilateral cooperation and regional integration with the release of the report on Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Marine Tourism developed. She reported on the Indaba Ministerial Session and the targets were delivered on for 2nd and 3rd quarter but stated that with shifting of the dates, the indaba will not be hosted for this year. She reported on data collection and stated that two service providers were appointed, and regulations were published and recruited 420 youth and the aim is to recruit youth from the areas they will be working. She emphasised data collection will commence but her team is waiting to get project managers on board.
Ms Shamilla Chettiar, Deputy Director General: Destination and Development, DT, reported on the 14 targets for her branch where they met 11 of those targets, one of them not achieved with significant work done, and 2 not achieved for the 2nd quarter. Destination planning initiatives were well on track and provinces saw value in this initiative. She highlighted the development of an ownership and operational model for the budget as one of the targets not met in the 3rd quarter after the framework was developed in the 2nd quarter. Stakeholder consultations on the draft ownership and operational model were not conducted. The delay in appointment of service providers and that was necessitated by her branch waiting for information on what is happening on the ground. The delay was due to the need for broadening of the scope from only budget resort accommodate related establishment. She stated that although there was a delay in the target for the 3rd quarter, the target for the year is on track. She reported on the Shangoni Gate and Phalaborwa, there have been severe delays in the design of the project due to consultation with the community on the location of the gate with the two communities close to the gate. She stated that her team could have not anticipated the problems with location of the gate. Due to the delays the target for the year will not be met. She reported on the issues relating to the delay in the Indian Atlantic route, her team could not meet with the stakeholder in Northern Cape during the period under review to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Ms Morongoe Ramphele, Deputy Director General: Tourism Sector Support Services, DT, reported on the 33 targets for her branch in the 2nd quarter, where 27 targets were achieved, 3 were not achieved but significant work done and 3 targets not achieved. She continued to report on the 34 preliminary targets for the 3rd quarter; with 21 targets achieved, 6 not achieved but significant work done, and 7 targets not achieved. On monitoring of the implementation on the amended Tourism Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Sector Code which is an annual survey to monitor transformation in the sector, she said her division could not deliver the report in the 3rd quarter due to low response rate in December 2018 which led to the decision not to close data collection. The target for the Women in Tourism (WiT) empowerment initiatives were conducted, but the 3rd quarter target of WiT Annual Conference was not delivered in scheduled time as it was deferred to January 2019. She reported on the initiatives supported to stimulate domestic tourism where the 2nd quarter targets were met, however, the 3rd quarter target of piloting the domestic Tourism Scheme in one node and one township could not take place due to delays in stakeholder consultations. The non-financial business development support provided to 400 SMMEs target was not achieved by her division where they managed to support 370 SMMEs. Her division managed to meet its targets to support three existing incubators but still awaiting appointment of service providers for the incubators. She reported the number of initiatives that her branch implemented for improving visitor services and she was pleased that the branch is on track and has delivered on the targets. She has also noted that the Tourism Monitors Training to be implemented in nine provinces, but the branch has not only managed to implement in six provinces. She highlighted the progress made on the capacity-building programmes implemented and mentioned that programme encountered the problem of dropouts.
Ms Lulama Duma, Deputy Director General: Corporate Management, DT, stated that her branch had 17 targets for the 2nd quarter, and achieved 16 of the targets with one not achieved with significant work done. For the 3rd quarter preliminary performance, her branch had 15 targets with 11 of those targets achieved, 4 not achieved with significant work done.
On the vacancy rate annual target to not exceed 8%, she stated that the target was met in the 2nd quarter with 7.4% vacancy rate maintained, but vacancy target was not met for the 3rd quarter with a vacancy rate of 8.3 DT has not been filling positions at the required rate since April 2018 due to a ceiling on the compensation budget. She reported on the development and 100% implementation of the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP), where target was met for the 2nd quarter. Target was not met for the 3rd quarter due to lack of funding and this meant that internships and bursaries for 2019/2020 were not advertised, but DT continued to fund previously approved bursaries.
Mr Ralph Ackermann, Chief Financial Officer, DT, reported on the Department’s financial position indicating that the spending for DT was 76% of the budget. In terms of the expenditure as percentage of the budget, 69% spent on administration, 91% spent on Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations, 47% spent on Destination Development, and 60% spent on Tourism Sector Support Services. He stated that the reason for the high percentage spending on Tourism Research, Policy and International Relations is due to the inclusion of the transfer payment by South African Tourism.
Mr Tharage was confident that the Department will be able to achieve the targets by the end of this year. The Department has encountered several problems including procurement. There are human elements that affect the DT making it difficult to foresee that problem. Phalaborwa Gate wetland and sewage spill are typical examples of the problems that were not foreseen and could not be included in the initial planning by the DT.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) began by appreciating the presentation and realised that several problems the DT was facing were due to finding suitable service providers. She wanted to know the plan going forward to finding service providers, and she asked if the DT was not advertising the position. Essentially, she wanted to know what the DT plans on doing in getting service providers and stated that the solution may assist the 6th Parliament with this issue. She wanted clarity on 40 women already trained in the executive development programme and wanted to know the number of the new women coming in. She posed a question on the destination development branch Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and is worried about the programme since it creates jobs. What strategies are in place to make sure that the Department creates jobs for the unemployed?
Ms P Adams (ANC) linked up with Ms Masehela on the issue of service providers and stated that this issue has a knock-on effect. She stated that before finding a service provider there must be planning, and she added when planning the DG must look at timing. With timing she suggested that there should be a project of more than one year because some of these projects run more than a year. The Department should foresee that there will be delays when engaging with stakeholders and went on to ask if the Department applies the SMART principle when planning. She asked the Department to look at under spending and overspending. What is the impact of Tourism Monitors? Are the trained youth absorbed by the market? She further suggested that the DT look at reasons for dropouts. One of the reasons for dropouts is pregnancy and asked if the programmes absorbs the young women that dropout due to pregnancy back into the programme in the next training course. She used the police training as an example and stated that in the police department if the trainee fails physical training they get absorbed to the next training. She suggested that the DT applies the same principle to the young women who drop out due to pregnancy as it is a human factor, by offering the second chance at the training programmes.
Ms S Xego (ANC) began apologizing for being late and appreciated for the report. She asked about the recruits who lose interest in the Tourism EPWP as she was concerned about how the DT conducts these programmes. Is the DT playing its role in remunerating the recruits on time and other reasons are human errors? People losing interest in the programmes should be looked at carefully. She suggested that the programme targeting WiT hosted in January be hosted in August and other programmes be the build up to the main event in August when women are up in arms wanting to know their role in government. She suggested that the DT host a stakeholder’s information sessions so that they are ready when the Department needs a service provider. She was interested to understanding where the DT is unable to get a service provider for a development of data base for a black owned product and services. She wanted the names of the provinces where they could not find service providers so that politicians can assist the DT in finding the service providers. She was pleased with the structure of the reports and stated that it is unfortunate that the Committee will not get the 4th quarter report as the time for the current Committee has lapsed and is optimistic that the DT will reach its targets for the year.
The Chairperson emphasised on the issue of the WiT Annual Gathering and stated that it loses the impact when hosted in January and suggested that it should be hosted in either August or September which are women and tourism months respectively. In January the attention, even media attention is on issues like Fees Must Fall and the event loses its significance. She was confused on the issue of incubators and stated to the DG that she is losing track on whether there are three incubators, or one incubator, whether other provinces have incubators, or whether the DT is moving towards virtual incubators. She is expressed her confusion and stated that her understanding of incubators is to support the Small Medium Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) by giving it expertise and tools of trade to be job creators.
Mr Tharage agreed with the Chairperson on WiT.
Ms Mphahlele replied on the issue of incubator and stated that when they conceptualised the incubator in terms of the nature of the sector it is very difficult to remove the owners from their businesses to congregate at a particular place for a week or more to be incubated. From the beginning DT preferred the virtual incubation route but the service provider that was supposed to the work needed an office to access internet and for physical interaction and it worked for the Moruleng and Pilansberg incubators. There are four incubators one in Moruleng wrapping up at the end of the next financial year, the three which are Phalaborwa, Bushbuckridge, Misu have been given support internally including SEDA in terms of the need the incubators have, and the DT will have service providers to handhold the incubators for the first 1 000 days. She stated that going forward her branch worked on the Enterprise Development Framework and the virtual thinking will help support a countrywide initiative, especially tour operators, but does not exclude the physical interaction needed. She essentially meant that virtual incubation will reach more people than having a hub. On dropouts with special attention on females, the division has not yet done an analysis on how to keep them in the programmes and did not give a special focus on female dropouts. She replied on the issue of loss of interest and stated that it is not issue of being paid on time and ties up with the issue of absenteeism. She accepted the advice from The Chairperson on moving the WiT event to August and she noticed over the years that the WiT Conference has been moving away from the tourism month. In her reply on the impact of tourism monitors, she stated that the branch piloted with Gauteng and the impact is yet to be seen but for now the outcome the DT would like to see for young people is to give information to tourists, be able to serve as ambassadors, and give tourist the sense of feeling safe. The executive development for women started with 20 and reached 40 in the current financial year.
Ms Chettiar replied on the key question which was around procurement and how the DT plans to deal with the challenges going forward. DT has teamed up to spent at least a month in adjudicating for panels. The DT has set up panels of prequalified service providers which will be in place for the skills development programmes next year and also setting up a panel of that looks into the Built Environment professionals that can attend to the issues around infrastructure project so that the DT does not go out on an open tender every time there is a skills development programme and work with prequalified panel in place. This would make the process of procurement shorter, the team has gone through extensive 6 weeks adjudicating process of skills providers to prequalify the skills provider so that they meet the criteria to be granted the work. She emphasised that the process is very involved process for every single tender and stated that it unfortunate that the DT has not been able to appoint service provider but said it would be irresponsible to appoint service providers who would not be able to deliver. The adjudication process with help the department going forward will help with the spending linked to making appointment in the future and be able to implement quicker.
Ms Malan replied to the data collection project in terms of the service provider and stated that the DT managed to appoint two service providers to manage data collection in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Free State. She stated that the DT has advertised for the other six provinces and the process has closed and the DT is busy with adjudication.
Mr Tharage acknowledged that all the challenges have an impact on service delivery, but he is pleased with the progress made by the DT, even with performance review discussion of different quarters with the political principals and stated that DDGs awareness of the challenges. There are instances where the challenges become too many which the control that the Department is limited, in some instances there is a procurement that is prescribed that it should not be done. The question of EPWP was addressed elating it to the outcomes of the Job Summit which were a mentorship which will be run together with the industry and infrastructure maintenance programme with National Parks and the planning is concluded and implementation will commence on the 1st of April 2019 across the country. He addressed the issue of procurement and stated that the panel will assist in making the procurement process shorter and quicker. He brought to attention that the Charter Council comes to an end soon and the recruitment process has begun whilst there an anticipation for reorganisation of government and he believes the Charter Council is a statutory body and trying to figure out where the home is to have a degree of clarity of what Council is doing with the DT, clarity on whether or not the Council is within the DT. If all goes well the bill should be out for public comments in March. He expressed the difficulty in dealing with the issue of the dropouts and the said the Department is trying to look at the benchmark of dropout rate in other programmes besides learnerships by comparing it to the completion of degrees by university students. He stated that the societal context in which these programmes exist as that has an impact on the results yielded by the programmes. He used the story narrated by a graduate who came from a nyaope infested area that managed to break the cycle to complete the programme. Societal issues are a factor to the dropout rates in these programmes. He stated these issues are broad and need to be addressed and considered when evaluating the programmes by the DT.
The Chairperson thanked the Department or the presentation and welcomed Mr G Krumbock (DA) who arrived late and briefed him on the presentation. The Chairperson was optimistic about the progress made by the Department and hopes that they will perform at the optimal to reach the targets for the year. She did not understand the issue of the Tourism Charter Council and wanted assurance that the Council will be housed where it will be able to work independently from DT and said that she could not understand what the DG was saying about the Council
Mr Tharage replied humorously to the remark that he spoke in tongues when comes to the Tourism Charter Council and assured the Chairperson that the Council will be independent from the DT. It was more difficult for the DT to be independent because what would appear in the plans of the Council is what appears in plans of DT and the law states that it must be cofounded by the government. He stated that the Council and DT are both aligned and have a joint recommendation of maintaining the independence.
The Chairperson asked how the issue of accountability will work out since the Council is housed within the DT, will they be able to monitor the issue of transformation. She welcomed the Draft bill to be released for public comment and appreciates that the amendments will reflect how the Committee sees tourism regulated. The Chairperson noticed the DT did sterling job done and also noticing the shortfall when it comes to project management that have to do with forward planning and has gone to the legacy report and hope that the next Committee will keep the DT accountable in terms of forward planning.
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