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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 October 2000
DISCUSSION OF NCOP AMENDMENTS TO TOURISM AMENDMENT BILL
Documents handed out:
Tourism Amendment Bill as Amended by the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs
After discussing the proposed amendments from the National Council of Provinces, The Portfolio Committee decided not to approve the amendments. The Bill will therefore go to a mediation committee where members of the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly will try to reach agreement on the outstanding issues.
The Chairperson, Ms Gwen Mahlangu, informed the committee of letters that had been received. She noted that activists in Mozambique had won a case dealing with an incinerator. She extended the invitation from the Environmental Monitoring Group to attend a workshop on the Rio +10 conference on the 11 October.
The Chairperson stated that the Tourism Amendment Bill, which had been through the committee earlier in the year, had been amended by the Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs. The Portfolio Committee was therefore required to consider the amendments. She requested the legal advisor for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Mr Retief, to brief the committee on the proposed amendments.
Mr Retief read through the amendments.
After discussion on the Bill, the Portfolio Committee agreed that they could not accept one of the proposed amendments. The amendment, to clause 21H, subsection 4, would change the subsection from:
(4) No tourist guide may drive a vehicle carrying more than nine persons and at the same time act as a tourist guide.
(4) No tourist guide may drive a vehicle with a carrying capacity of more than nine persons and at the same time act as a tourist guide.
The Portfolio Committee heard that the reason for the suggested amendment was that the Select Committee had been concerned that the driver of a large vehicle, such as a bus, could act as a tourist guide if there were less than nine people in the bus. The Select Committee had been concerned that the drivers of large vehicles should concentrate solely on the driving off the vehicle, and not on being a tourist guide.
The members of the Portfolio Committee understood the concern. When the Portfolio Committee had originally dealt with the clause, they had deliberately phrased it as 'carrying more than nine people'. This was done to facilitate new entrants into the tourism market. The new entrants were most likely to be using mini-busses, which, under the new proposed amendment, would be required by the new wording to have both a driver and a guide. This would make it more difficult for a new entrant to be financially viable. Under the old wording, a mini-bus driver with less than 9 people in the vehicle would be able to act as driver and guide.
The Portfolio Committee agreed that there were two concerns. While there was a need to allow mini-bus drivers to not require an additional guide, there was a safety concern in allowing large vehicle drivers to act as guides if they had less than nine passengers.
The Committee agreed that they could not accept the amendment. The Chairperson explained that as the Portfolio Committee had considered the bill before the Select Committee had made changes, parliamentary rules did not allow the Portfolio Committee to make further amendments. The Portfolio Committee was only able to accept or reject the changes.
If the changes were rejected, the Bill would need to go to a mediation committee for the Select Committee and Portfolio Committee to try and find agreement. The Portfolio Committee therefore agreed that the bill would need to be sent to a mediation committee at the beginning of 2001.
The Chairperson went on to look at issues still outstanding in relation to the Portfolio Committee's work. She noted that meetings on the Weather Services Bill would be continuing in Pretoria, and members of the committee would attend those meetings to ensure the process continued.
In relation to the international conventions clusters, the Director General of Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Chair had agreed that the two priority clusters dealing with climate change and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) should meet this year.
After further discussion, the cluster dealing with Desertification was added as a priority, as there was a Conference of Parties later in the year. The Chairperson noted that the decision as to whether the Desertification convention would be administered by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism or Department of Agriculture had been postponed. The Director General of Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism would be with the Committee on the 30th October to talk about these issues.
The Chair noted that the Portfolio Committee had previously had a meeting dealing with threats to and conservation of marine bird-life. The meeting had been rushed, and the Portfolio Committee agreed that a further meeting was required.
The issue of tourism, and in particular transport, was identified as a further area that required work. The Chairperson noted that attention to domestic and African tourism needs to be improved, and the safety of passengers on rail transport was of great concern. The committee therefore agreed to have a meeting in early November with the SAA, Transnet and the SATOUR.
Other issues dealing with hearings on plastic bag regulations, and a study tour and hearings on fisheries in the E. Cape needed to be looked at. The Chairperson and the committee staff would look to drawing up a timetable to look at all of these issues after the constituency period.
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