Joint Consultative Workshop on Tourist Safety and Security in South Africa; with Deputy Minister of Tourism & Deputy Minister of Police

Tourism

27 August 2019
Chairperson: Mr S Mahumapelo (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Members of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism and Police were briefed by various presenters on tourist safety and security in South Africa. The Deputy Ministers of Tourism and Police were in attendance.

The first presentation was led by the Safety and Violence Initiative. It highlighted that crime against tourists is a global phenomenon and is not unique to the South Africa. In most popular tourist destinations, tourists are vulnerable to theft, robbery and scams. Experiences of violent crime is over-represented in the media. Tourists who are murdered are a rare occurrence and more tourists die from motor vehicle collisions in South Africa. There is not much that can be done when it comes to perpetrators, but tourists can be educated and influenced in becoming more safety conscious. Heightened police and private security presence are also required to combat crime.

The second presentation was led by Statistics South Africa. The presentation highlighted the use of the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey which examines crime from the perspective of the victim. Households are visited and victims are engaged with. This differs from the South African Police Services (SAPS) statistics which examine the number of crimes reported at police stations. The perception is that crime has increased and there is more trust in SAPS than in the courts when dealing with incidents of crime. This is because the court system is complex, and its processes are not user-friendly. Members were told that the tourism sector is bigger than the agriculture and mining sectors in its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2017, tourism created 31 752 jobs, and these were largely in road passenger transport. On domestic tourism, it was reported in 2017 that only 1% of people did not take an overnight trip because they were worried about their safety.

The third presentation was led by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa. It highlighted that there is fraud against guesthouses, and tourists are targeted. There have been service delivery protests in Mpumalanga, in key tourist destinations, and 10 tourists were hijacked between June and July 2019. Household and armed robberies are also a key concern. There is an issue of traffic police officials soliciting bribes from tourists and this has a negative perception of South Africa, globally. Tour operators have reported a loss of bookings after the murder of Ukrainian tourist Ivan Ivanov while hiking above Chapman's Peak Drive in Hout Bay, Cape Town. The Tourism Safety Initiative includes a system that vets staff, including shuttle drivers prior to employment. The Tourism Safety App is ready for launch and it is a matter of time until it is released. Visible policing is key to combatting crime against tourists, and the Council is working jointly with the police on this. There is also a partnership with Mpumalanga to ensure tourist safety in the Kruger National Park.

The fourth presentation was led by the South African Police Services. It highlighted the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Tourism and the Department of Police. It has been drafted, agreed upon and is ready to be signed off. This document creates a framework for both departments to jointly undertake projects aimed at addressing tourist safety. This includes an identification of destinations which are linked to crime hotspots, an establishment of a database of crimes committed against tourists and the enhancement of crime prevention initiatives. The National Tourism Safety Forum will be responsible for the monitoring and execution of these projects.

The fifth presentation was led by the Western Cape department of Economic Development and Tourism. The presentation highlighted the need for a business and governmental approach to combat crime against tourists. Crime has a direct impact on tourists and local residents. Local communities must be engaged with and become part of the solution. The deployment of the South African National Defence Force in local communities has created a bad perception around safety in South Africa. An enforcement task force to combat crime against tourists is being looked at, but because of budget constraints, this will start off at a local level.

The sixth presentation was led by the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro). It highlighted that crime levels create a discouraging effect on tourists. South Africa must dissociate crime from the general perception of the country as a tourist destination. Crimes perpetrated in places like the Table Mountain National Park capture international headlines and directly impact the perception of Cape Town. Newspapers, social media and word of mouth influence perception. It is important to manage the narrative that reaches the audience. Tourism trade, international embassies and consulates must be given access to a single narrative from a reputable source because it is critical to get the right message across. By early September 2019, various communication tools should be up and running, providing constant communication and positive news in the media.

Members raised concern about the way crime is being communicated when it happens in the townships. They asked how township tourism was been developed and promoted, and if a comparative global study on how crime impact the number of tourist arrivals can be provided to members. Members raised concern on the implementation of concrete plans. Members asked whether the grading system should include a security component, and whether panic buttons and the Tourism Safety App are appropriate for tourists to use. Members also asked why there has been no emphasis on the use of private sector security. Members raised concerns with the over-representation of crimes in the media and asked for a communication crisis forum to be created within the National Tourism Safety Forum. Members also raised concerns about the absence of a single and credible narrative being communicated to the public, and what the situation will be like once the army is removed from the Cape Flats, the issue of cyber-crime and crime syndicates.

The seventh presentation was led by the Gauteng Tourism Authority. It highlighted the new approach of the province to tourism promotion as a destination marketing organisation. There has been a decline in the number of international arrivals due to concerns for personal safety. There has also been a decline in the number of domestic arrivals due to the economic climate on local residents rather than issues of safety and security. There have been break-ins and robberies in bed and breakfast establishments accommodating tourists around the Sandton and O.R. Tambo International Airport areas. The Tourist Safety Response will provide support and assistance to tourists in distress. The province is working closely with various stakeholders to tackle the challenge of crime. A joint and proactive communication strategy is also currently underway.

The eighth presentation was led by South African National Parks. It highlighted the Kruger National Park and Table Mountain National Park (Table Mountain) as the two most visited parks in the country. There has been no loss of visitors in the last decade to the Kruger National Park, but there has been a reported loss at the Table Mountain. This is mainly because Table Mountain is unfenced, with no controlled access and monitoring of visitors. It is surrounded by the city and neighbouring suburbs, and this makes it easy for criminals to merge back into suburbia. The criminals who are arrested on the mountain are usually out on parole or on bail. Tourists remain a vulnerable group of people who unknowingly enter dangerous spaces and are not prepared when an attack happens. The two main challenges remain poor signal and open access. The two mitigating measures are technology and the media.

The ninth presentation was led by the Mount Nelson Hotel. It highlighted a number of incidents of crime which the hotel has experienced. In all the incidents, no tourists were attacked or injured. Rather, material things were stolen. The media reported incorrectly on the recent robbery and this remains a challenge. The issue of crime needs to be resolved so that unemployment can also be resolved.

The tenth presentation was led by the South African National Editors’ Forum. It highlighted the focus on media freedom and the various programmes which support this. Tourism has a high-employment potential and the media has not been developmental in reporting about crimes against tourists. Overall the crime narrative needs to be reviewed and a newer approach to reporting needs to be undertaken. The same applies to the xenophobia narrative. This requires a dialogue between government, media and civil society. The industry faces the challenges of under-funding, under-resourcing and under-staffing. This applies across the board. There is also a challenge of communication between the media and government. This relationship needs to be strengthened and crime statistics should be released monthly. There is also a challenge around journalists who come from other African countries and struggle to obtain visas. This prevents them from attending media conferences and reporting on the issues of xenophobia. It is important to see the media as a partner to brand South Africa, and government should rely on them to disseminate information.

The eleventh presentation was led by the Department of Tourism. It highlighted that South Africa is ranked last in safety and security in all focus markets globally. The Department is finding ways to promote good news through marketing and web analytics. Officials in the Department went to visit the communities that were protesting in Mpumalanga. The communities said they knew tourists were being inconvenienced but it was the only way the government would listen to their grievances. The Department has assisted communities by opening additional gates and creating commercial activity hubs in the areas. These issues require social facilitation. A key challenge is managing communication. When an incident occurs, the first thing the victim wants to do is leave the country. Better communication platforms must be created to not inconvenience the victim but also allow the police to do their work. Technological interventions will provide important opportunities in the tourism industry. There is also a challenge where volunteers in community police forums are not being paid a stipend and this needs to be looked at in more detail.

Members raised concerns about having two communication protocols, one for the Department of Tourism and one for SAPS. Members asked for a joint communication protocol to be used at the National Tourism Safety Forum. Members asked how a dedicated tourism police unit can be established. The Committee expressed concern that some provinces were absent at the meeting, as well as both Ministers. Officials who go on study tours abroad are requested to implement what they have seen when they return to South Africa. Members also raised concern about the lack of tour guides in the provinces.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all in attendance and noted an apology from the Minister of Tourism.

The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Amos Mahlalela (ANC).

Ms T Joemat-Pettersson (ANC) welcomed all in attendance and thanked the Chairperson for hosting such an important workshop. She said that tourism is a catalyst for economic growth and job creation. Crime in the country constitutes a threat to the thriving tourism industry. The reporting of crime in South Africa has exacerbated negative perceptions which impact economic growth. Members of the Portfolio Committee on Police had an internal workshop where the National Police Commissioner agreed on certain action plans to respond to the challenges of crime. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Police (DOP) and the DOT has been approved. The Safer Festive Season campaign will launch on 11 October 2019 and Committee members have agreed to be a part of it.

The Chairperson said the beginning of the sixth administration builds on the foundation of past administrations. The work to be done must be in the context of the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP). The challenge of crime impacts the lives of people, what they eat, their health, education, how they travel and where they sleep. Joint action must be taken to deal with the challenges. The approach of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism (the Committee) is not to be antagonistic, but to be uncomplicated, uncompromising, and to conduct reciprocal oversight. This does not mean the Committee will not be robust in its approach. The Committee believes in working together, embracing diversity and using people’s differences as strengths.

The Chairperson said that in order to achieve the objectives of the NDP, better planning from all role-players is required. There must be cooperation and joint plans to deal with the challenges of crime so that tourists feel safe in the country. According to statistics, poverty is more pronounced in the rural villages, townships and small dorpies (towns). This sequence must be followed in order to attack poverty. When a racist incident happens, it must not be over-emphasised so that people think South Africa is a racist country. It needs to be dealt with as an isolated incident. The same applies to the issue of crime. It must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The Chairperson asked for the first presentation to begin.

Presentation by the Safety and Violence Initiative, University of Cape Town

Mr Guy Lamb, Director: Safety and Violence Initiative, University of Cape Town, greeted members and said that his presentation will focus on an overview of crime against tourists in South Africa. South Africa is not unique, and crime is prevalent across various countries. In most popular tourist destinations, tourists are vulnerable to theft, robbery and scams. These crimes have a particular motive. Tourists are likely to be victims of crime when entering a space that is prone to crime and they find themselves at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Tourists are less observant and security conscious when they are on holiday and relaxing. They are lucrative targets because they carry cash and valuables on them. Tourist experiences of violent crime are usually over-represented in the media and this results in a panic.

Mr Lamb said the data trends at national and provincial level show that murder is the most reported crime. In Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay particularly, the murder trends are concentrated in certain areas and it largely affects the residents in those areas. Despite the high levels of murder in South Africa, the murder of tourists is a rare occurrence. It is usually because they are at the wrong place and at the wrong time. An example of this is the murder of Ukrainian tourist, Ivan Ivanov while hiking above Chapman's Peak Drive in Hout Bay, Cape Town. This was an isolated and individual incident. There is a higher number of tourists who are killed in vehicle crashes than murder. Deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents are not as widely reported as those who are murdered.

Mr Lamb said crime is dependent on a number of factors; there is a victim, offender, crime facilitators, certain prevailing conditions and the absence of capable guardians such as the South African Police Service (SAPS) and private security members. The guardians and victims can be influenced and educated whereas it is less likely to be able to do something about the perpetrator. There is an issue of securing safety in secluded areas, such as Wilderness, where there is not a lot of police around. Strategies must be developed across government departments, and a comprehensive National Tourist Safety Strategy must be established to deal with the challenge of crime.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Lamb and asked for the next presentation to begin.  

Presentation by Statistics South Africa

Mr Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General: Statistics South Africa, greeted members and everyone in attendance. The Statistics Council is an independent body and advises both the Minister and the Statistician-General. The Council is free to issue a statement on the quality of data that Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) produces. In turn, Stats SA is free to accept their advice. The role of Stats SA is not to assess policy but to produce numbers. The DOP will be making their statistics available very soon. A quality statement on these numbers has just been signed. The NDP is at the centre of Stats SA’s work as well as the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). It uses the Governance, Public Safety and Justice survey (GPSJS) to examine crime from the point of view of the victim. This consists of going into households and talking to victims themselves. In contrast, SAPS statistics are derived from incidents of crime reported at police stations.

Mr Maluleke said that the tourism sector is bigger than agriculture, but smaller than mining in its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The finance, government and trade sectors are clustered around the big cities like Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. In 2017, domestic visitors accounted for 56% and international visitors accounted for 44% of tourism spend. In the same year, tourism created 31 752 jobs, and these were created largely in road passenger transport. In 2018, 69.8% of visitors in South Africa were tourists. 74.4% of those tourists were residents of African countries and 25.5% were residents of overseas countries. The main reasons that travellers come to South Africa is for holiday, vacation, shopping and visiting friends. A smaller amount come for study or business purposes. It is much easier to obtain a permit for a holiday than for work. On domestic tourism, the number of overnight visitors has not been growing by much but the number of same-day visitors has increased. The main reason for this is to visit friends and relatives and they are likely to stay with their families rather than hotels, lodges or guest houses. Those who visited for leisure were a small amount.

Mr Maluleke said that the percentage of individuals, aged 16 and above, who experienced incidents of crime has increased to 3.7%. It is critical to separate individuals from households. Households don’t necessarily consist of relatives but also of friends who share resources. Household feelings towards crime and their safety reported that crime was on an increase. The survey also found that households have more trust in SAPS than in the courts. SAPS remain their first port of call because there is an issue of understanding in the way courts work. The criminal justice system is a complex system where the accused has to first plead guilty or not guilty before they are tried. In the townships and rural areas, the accused is tried first. The court system is also conducted in English and translations into vernacular languages gets lost. Households that felt safe throughout the day have declined. In 2017, only 1% of people indicated they did not take an overnight trip because they were worried about their safety.

The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale to the meeting and proceeded to the next presentation.

Presentation by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Mr Blacky Komani, Chairman: Tourism Business Council of South Africa, said that crime against tourists is a big issue for the private sector. The Minister of Home Affairs has issued visa waivers for countries like New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Crime is the only challenge that remains and stands in the way of achieving targets. The private sector is committed to working with the public sector to deal with this challenge. On the experiences and impact of crime, household robberies are a key concern. There is fraud against guesthouses and tourists are targeted. The SAPS are overstretched and this needs to be addressed. There have been service delivery protests in Mpumalanga in key tourist destinations. 10 tourists were hijacked in Mpumalanga between June and July 2019.

Mr Komani said that Sandton, Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD), Kempton Park and Cape Town are hotspot areas for armed robberies. There is an issue of traffic police officials soliciting bribes from tourists. When tourists encounter this, they will tell the world about it. Tour operators have reported a loss of bookings since the death of Mr Ivanov. The private sector has a Tourism Safety Initiative which includes a system that links suspects to cell phone numbers and stolen cars, and the vetting of staff, including shuttle drivers, prior to employment. Communicating the right message remains a challenge. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South African Tourism is currently travelling through Europe to conduct roadshows. This was a deliberate decision to communicate with the world that South Africa is beautiful, affordable and open for business. Until South Africa tells its own stories to the international market, someone else will do so on the country’s behalf. The Tourism Safety App is ready for launch and implementation. It is a matter of time until it will be released. Visible policing is key to combatting crime, and the Council is working jointly with SAPS on this. There is also a partnership with Mpumalanga to ensure the safety of the Kruger National Park.  

One of the delegates introduced himself as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of South Africa’s leading inbound tour operators and coach companies[HN1] . He said that travel experts have been asking about the question of crime in South Africa. In the past, there has always been confidence because incidents of crime happened in a space outside of where tourists go, but now incidents of crime are far more prevalent in those spaces. This makes it a lot harder to address and answer questions from customers. There was a recent incident where a coach bus was attacked in Somerset West. Tourists had to lie on the ground and petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at the bus. Fortunately, no tourists were hurt but it was difficult to explain the situation to customers. The response from the Minister of Tourism was incredible and she acted on the same day. Crime has gotten worse in South Africa and there needs to be an increase of SAPS in these spaces.  

Mr Komani thanked the Minister for her dedication to tourism. The private sector supports such dedication.

The Chairperson asked for the next presentation to begin.

Presentation by the South African Police Services

Lieutenant-General Sharon Jephta, Acting Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing: SAPS, greeted members and the Deputy Ministers. She said that the purpose of the presentation is to brief members on the existing collaboration between SAPS and DOT. An apology from the National Commissioner was noted. The MoU was drafted, agreed upon and is ready to be signed off. It is inspired by the principles of cooperative governance and intergovernmental relations as illustrated in the Constitution. The purpose is to formalise an implementation plan and outline the role of SAPS and DOT to ensure a secure environment for tourism growth and development. The MoU creates a framework for both departments to undertake projects aimed at addressing tourist safety. This includes an identification of tourism destinations which are linked to crime hotspots, an establishment of a database of crimes committed against tourists and the enhancement of crime prevention initiatives. The National Tourism Safety Forum will be responsible for the monitoring and execution of these projects. An integrated tourist safety and security strategy should consider the crime threat, pattern analysis, community policing, a communication plan, incident management and victim support.

Presentation by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism: Western Cape

Mr Rashid Toefy, Deputy Director-General: Department of Economic Development and Tourism: Western Cape, greeted members. He said that the tourism safety strategy must include both a governmental and business approach. Real collaborations will provide a solution to the challenge of crime. There was a similar response to the water crisis. Tourism has a direct impact on the Gross Geographic Product (GGP), economic growth and job creation. When incidents of crime occur, it has a serious impact on the perception of South Africa as a tourist destination. The deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the Western Cape has a positive impact for local residents but the perception around the world is not good. The issue is around protecting the lives of people every day and the global perception of the use of the army in communities. The perception of South Africa is a large part of tourist decision-making. Crime has a direct impact on tourists and local residents. Local communities need to be engaged with and become part of the solution.

Mr Toefy said that the Tourism Safety Forum happens twice a year. Sub-forums are starting to be developed to address the issues of communication and technology. The role of the provincial government is to play a convening role to stress the importance of having meetings and ensuring that other forums also take place. In a recent workshop held by the Department of Community Safety (DCS) it was decided that tourism safety will be put on the agenda. There must be the right enforcement and detectives, so the issue of crime is taken seriously. The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) is looking at budgets to see if an enforcement task force is possible. It might have to be at a local policing level which will include quicker ways of reporting crimes.

Mr Toefy said DEDT’s current Tourism Safety and Support Programme provides assistance to tourists in distress. A tech tool is currently being developed which looks at private sector solutions such as a panic button. Panic buttons will be given to local tour guide operators who take tourists on hikes. The use of drones and WhatsApp groups have shown amazing responses. Local neighbourhood watches have cameras everywhere and this will allow for data gathering and data intelligence. The DEDT is collaborating with various partners. There needs to be people on the mountains, workers and young people who carry walky-talkies. The police still need to be deployed across the various tourist hotspots.

Presentation by Wesgro

Mr Tim Harris, CEO, Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) said that the issue of security can be dealt with in the same way as the water crisis. The perception on the water crisis was that South Africa was running out of water and if it was still a good destination to visit. The perception of crime and security must be dealt with similarly. When looking at the Safety Index Ranking of various cities, Cape Town is sitting at the bottom end, at 53, and Chicago is at 49. Chicago has significant crime rates driven by gangs, but they manage the perception of the city so that it does not have a discouraging effect on tourists. They have managed to dissociate crime from the general perception of the city as a tourist destination. There are lessons to be learnt from them.

Mr Harris said a study was done in Mexico in 2011 that analysed the impact of violent crime such as homicides on the number of tourist arrivals. The data showed that the number of international tourists decreased as a result of the homicides. In the Western Cape, there are three types of crime: gang wars, which mainly impact citizens in poorer areas; crime on the mountain such as Table Mountain National Park which captures international headlines and directly impacts the perception of Cape Town; and petty crime which is not seen as a deterrent to tourists. Cape Town dealt with the water crisis very well and there are lessons to be learnt from the drought. The response from government was to get citizens to change consumption patterns. The big difference between the water crisis and the crime crisis is that the drought was always going to end but there is a less distinct time frame of when crime will come to an end. It is therefore more challenging to respond to the crime crisis.  

Ms Judy Lane, Chief Marketing Officer: Tourism, Wesgro said that the primary audience is tourism trade, international embassies and consulates. They are the quickest route to market the message as they engage with potential visitors daily. Working with trade is critical to get the right message across. This was used in the water crisis and is a big lesson to learn from when dealing with the issue of crime. The secondary audience is actual potential visitors. Newspapers, social media and what people say influences perception. It is important to manage the narrative that reaches the audience. The primary audience must be given access to a single narrative from a reputable source which comes from a place of authority and knowledge. Communication tools also help to carry the message.

Ms Lane said the biggest barrier at the moment is getting people to want to come to South Africa because of the lack of security. The main message that needs to go out is that a safe environment is being created for everyone. A lot of the time petty crime impacts tourists the most and this happens all over the world. Petty crime is not a deterrent for tourists, but violent crime is. A ‘holding statement’ has been created in accordance with the power of a single narrative. The more people who say the same thing, the greater the message. The internet and newspapers have a lot of negative news and this needs to be countered by putting out the correct facts. A ‘listening tool’ listens to what people say on social media so that sentiments on crime can be understood. Beginning of September 2019, everything should be up and running with constant communication and positive news being disseminated in the media.

Discussion

The Chairperson said that the presentation by the Western Cape government does not highlight the communication problem and negative perceptions of South Africa. He asked how news about crime is being communicated when it happens in the townships. The Chairperson noted that the names of specific townships are not mentioned, but rather, it is cited as crime in the whole of South Africa. There must be communication and resource allocation to include plans for every single township, starting with the ones with high levels of crime. In the last two weeks, the presence of the SANDF has had an impact but it is not having the drastic impact people expected. Good work is being done, but it is important for plans to be extended to every single township.

Ms Asanda Ngoasheng, Council Member, SANEF said that the conversations are focused on developing safety measures, but the biggest problem is that communities are not benefitting from tourism. When communities do not benefit from tourism, they will find other ways to benefit from it. She asked what the national and provincial plans to benefit communities are, because this will alleviate crime.

Mr G Krumbock (DA) said that every country goes through incidents where tourists experience crime which impacts their perception of the country. He asked if there is a comparative study which measures to what extent tourist arrivals have been affected by crime, and if it is a general worldwide impact or if South Africa suffers more from crime why it impacts South Africa greatly. There was a positive impact of tourism safety during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. There was high visible policing on World Cup routes, in stadiums and a rapid judicial response to anyone who stepped out of line. In order to do this, strict policing and security was added to other areas. He asked if this a possible solution and how would it be executed bearing in mind that it is not a sustainable solution for the long term.

Mr H Gumbi (DA) said that there is a grading system used for accommodations and this system is used both locally and internationally. There is a perception linked to a four or five star graded establishment, and people expect a certain level of security and comfort. The DOT and the Committee need to look at the benefits that can be accrued from grading. Far more places can be graded so there are built-in incentives to include basic security. A security component must be included in the discussion of free grading. On the Tourism Safety app, he asked if it is meant to be used by tourists or tour guides. Tourists are not going to like being told that they need an app to be safe. Mr Gumbi asked if the app is not meant to be used by local tourism forums and hotels. The same question applies to the usage of panic buttons. The case study of Chicago was mentioned. He asked if the officials have any statistics and data on Thailand. Like South Africa, Thailand also has high levels of inequality and a violent society.

Mr A Whitfield (DA) said that members heard last week that SAPS could lose personnel due to budget cuts over the next three years. He asked if this creates a burden on SAPS to prioritise crime against tourists. He said there has not been enough emphasis on the use of private sector security. This joint Committee should resolve a decision on this. There has to be a Crisis Communications forum that consists of experts who can establish communication from the time an incident occurs and when the first report arrives at SAPS. It is critically important to have one single narrative so that hysteria can be prevented. This should form part of the National Tourism Safety Forum.

Mr O Terblanche (DA) said that the presentations speak in futuristic terms. What has happened today? A lot of work still needs to be done and implemented. By October of this year there should be concrete plans ready to be implemented. There will have to be a body driving the plan continuously.

Mr Z Peter (ANC) said that he is concerned about how the presentations present the criteria and classify visitors versus travellers. He asked if the Committee was not shooting itself in the foot. It is very important that the Committee develop many voices but have one message that promotes the country. The international roadshows are important to speak with one voice as a country. Township tourism needs to be promoted. Every time there is a festival in ‘Makhanda’, there are various reporting of crime. And even though there are limited resources, the town is able to deal with it. The visa waiver approach must continue to be encouraged without compromising on the safety of the country. This workshop today must not be the last platform. Moving forward, there must be more engagement.

Mr P Moteka (EFF) said that the presentation highlights mostly the townships and informal settlements where poor Africans are living. He asked if there are township tourist destinations that contribute to the economy of the country. He asked if there are tourism hubs in township areas like Gugulethu for people to be employed. He asked what had been done in Phillipi and Langa townships respectively. The use of the SANDF is a temporary measure and is needed because people are being killed, but it is not sustainable. Social solutions are needed. Money is being invested in the cities and this is important to maintain, but it must be expanded to other areas too. He asked why tourism was not mentioned on the list of contributors towards GDP. He asked if it is correct to say that tourism creates more jobs than agriculture, and what type of jobs are being created. In order to deal with the challenge of crime, people must be given work opportunities to become active.

Mr E Maphatsoe (ANC) agreed with Mr Lamb’s presentation that tourist experiences are overrepresented in the media. The violent crime facing South African people in the townships is a big challenge which has been addressed by the deployment of the SANDF. The people who feel more unsafe are the people in the townships. In the townships, 47 people are killed daily, whereas there are four tourists who die over a period of time. The media then reports that there are serious crime levels against tourists. The media is not patriotic in the manner it reports about South Africa. Priority crimes that are violent in nature must be dealt with while also not neglecting tourists who visit the country.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said that Stats SA’s presentation should be taken very seriously. On the one hand, people say the police cannot be trusted, but on the other hand, the presentation says the police are more trusted than the courts. The Western Cape has the most peculiar situation in the Cape Flats. When it comes to fighting crime, the worst performing province is the Western Cape. It is a matter for the Committee and the police to work together with the Western Cape government to combat crime. An extensive oversight will be conducted tomorrow (28 August 2019) in the areas where the army has been deployed. The army will be leaving soon. It is not a permanent solution. She asked what the response should be. When the army is withdrawn or will the situation go back to how it was before, she asked. A google search of frequent crimes perpetrated in the Western Cape shows that the murder rate has risen.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said that she moved her sons from public schooling in the Cape Flats to Bishops College (Bishops), a private school, so that they could understand the class perspective in the Western Cape. Exchange students to Bishops no longer want to come to South Africa because of the crime rate. The exchange students in the Cape Flats come from the Eastern Cape province. Domestic tourism and how the Western Cape relates to the rest of the country needs to be looked at. The Western Cape cannot be seen as an island separate from the rest of the country. The situations in Langa and Phillipi are not comparable to any other situation in the country. She asked why all types of crime are not treated equally?

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said that the Minister of Police must condemn and address the killing of farm owners. On the situation of farm workers, there was a video on the ill treatment that takes place. This video was shown at an international level and had a very negative impact on the country. On crime syndicates who target tourists, she asked why there was no mention of this in the presentations. On cyber-crime capacity, there are international tourists using foreign currency and doing electronic payments. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) must be spoken to about crime intelligence. The Committee is going to focus on the partnerships it has with the Western Cape by ensuring there is synergy and cooperative arrangements. In the MoU, the Community Police Forums (CPS) have to be looked at and emphasised.

Responses

Mr Lamb said that the example of the 2010 Soccer World Cup shows that if there is a particular focus, government can work really well with civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders to achieve a particular objective. The crime statistics before and after 2010 show that crime continued to decrease across South Africa with some exceptions in Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay. The White Paper on Safety and Security is an excellent document. It was finalised in 2016 and is in the process of being implemented. This document will have positive benefits for both South African citizens and tourists.

An official responded that international standards of economic classifications are used on the nominal share of the GDP. This is for the purpose of comparison with other countries. Tourism can be identified from stand-alone economic classifications such as trade and transport. The United Nations tourism classifications are used because South Africa is an active member. If a person travels 19km to buy milk, such person is a traveller and not a tourist. If a person moves from a regular environment and goes somewhere else for purposes of staying overnight or returns the same day then such person is a tourist. They may be a same-day tourist or fully-fledged tourist. This is because economic activity translates from travel and stay, unlike going to buy milk.

Ms Jephta said that the issue of a collaboration with private security is not part of the presentation. The presentation refers to the Eyes and Ears project which was piloted in Gauteng. It will be rolled out to the rest of the country in terms of the MoU. On crisis communication, there are existing platforms and the national, provincial and cluster command centres will facilitate the management of it. Crime intelligence will be part of the forum.

An official responded that the use of a panic button was envisioned from its use in the private sector. The app was looked into before this particular project. One has to log into the app and pay for the app itself, but if a person presses the panic button, it immediately alerts private security in the area. It had to be relooked so that the project is sustainable and within budget. During the 2010 World Cup, there was one incident in a hotel in Durban. There were discussions with other agencies to consider putting a security element into the grading system. The response was clear. There is a degree of privacy that clients would want to enjoy, and as a result putting it into the grading system would not be to their benefit. Hotels will individually do it and consider it. The issue of crime syndicates and people following tourists from the airport to the hotel has not been reported for a while. There has been a concerted effort from SAPS to deal with crime syndicates.

Mr Harris said that it is important to emphasise the safety of communities. All stakeholders are in this together, including the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government. It is appreciated that the provinces are invited to this joint workshop. Foreign visitors spend roughly USD 1.6 billion and support South African citizens who are employed in the tourism industry. The vulnerability of international tourism is an important factor for many South Africans. If the Western Cape is in trouble, it directly impacts the lives of ordinary South Africans because there is widespread dependency in geographical and social areas. Chicago is able to communicate because they are open as a leading tourist destination and this speaks to the issue of resilience. Similarly, Thailand is as resilient when it comes to tourism. Part of their resilience is linked to the fact that Thailand is unique and different to other countries. In South Africa, the English language is spoken, the government structure and parliamentary procedures are familiar, and the country is internationally prominent. As a result, the country is less resilient. There is a role that can be played between the industry and government in managing the perceptions around tourist safety. It is not seen as exclusive or elitist, but rather an intervention that impacts millions of South Africans.

Ms Lane said that the only relevant research that can be found is that developing counties take longer to recover after terrorist attacks. The crisis room has national association and national bodies within the system, and direct contact is made to trade. Messages are sent in and out to trade and the system does exist. On unlocking township tourism, the potential can only be unlocked once the issue of protection is resolved.

The Chairperson said that as long as people feel excluded from tourism they will continue to engage in criminal activity. The DOT can respond to this particular issue. The SAPS are not responsible for the upbringing of children. This problem of morality and social cohesion must be resolved elsewhere. Similarly, SAPS is not responsible for the problem of poverty. It must be resolved elsewhere by other government departments and society in general. On the issue of schools, he asked government is infusing proper nurturing and the upbringing of children in every school. There must be reporting on the behaviour of children, class by class, school by school and area by area. New interventions must be used for social cohesion and moral regeneration. The army and the police will not resolve the problem of drug abuse on the Cape Flats.

Presentation by the Gauteng Tourism Authority

Ms Yoland Kona, CEO, Gauteng Tourism Authority greeted members and everyone in attendance. She said that the province has a new approach to tourism promotion as a destination marketing organisation. There has been a decline in the number of international arrivals. This is due to concerns for personal safety. Equally, there has been a decline in the number of domestic arrivals. This is due to the impact of the economic climate on local residents more than issues around safety. The challenges around tourism safety in Gauteng consists of a number of incidents where tourists have been affected. There have been robberies, tourists been followed from the airport, and break-ins at establishments, especially Bed and Breakfast (B&B) establishments around Sandton and the O.R. Tambo International Airport vicinity.

Ms Kona said that Gauteng province is working with various stakeholders in the province including law enforcement to create a sub-forum on tourist safety. There is a need for an incident management protocol to be put in place that functions 24/7, where any tourist or visitor who experiences an incident may have access to assistance and support. The emphasis is on coordination, stakeholder collaboration and working in an integrated fashion. Gauteng is working closely with law enforcement agencies and private security to extend services to the different tourism sites within the provinces. A joint and proactive communication strategy is currently underway. This includes the training of airport ground staff who receive visitors and can facilitate positive communication. The minute the visitor steps off the plane, there must be communication. In the next couple of months, Gauteng will be proactive in ensuring tourism safety and security.

Presentation by the South African National Parks

Mr Norman Johnson, Regional General Manager, South African National Parks (SANParks) greeted members. He said that there has not been any loss of visitors in the Kruger National Park in the last decade due to crime, although there has been a loss of visitors to the Table Mountain National Park. The tourism industry is constantly transforming. New strategies have to be developed to account for the new activities people engage in. Tourists are a vulnerable group of people because they are not familiar with their surroundings. Tourists take cell phones and cameras when they go hiking, and these are sought after items by criminals. The Table Mountain National Park is surrounded by the city and suburbs. It is easy for criminals to merge back into suburbs after a crime has been committed. Table Mountain serves as a recreational haven for local residents and also as an internationally renowned tourist destination. Tourists enter isolated places and unknowingly put themselves in danger.

Mr Johnson said that the Kruger National Park and Table Mountain National Park are the two most visited parks in the country. If anything adverse happens at the two parks, it will be on the front page of media publications. Unlike Kruger National Park, Table Mountain National Park is not fenced, and people can enter at any point. It is an open access area where there is no management or controlled gate systems monitoring who enters the space. The lower slopes of Table Mountain are more controlled areas, and there are no incidents which happen there. Evidence shows that there is no correlation between the number of incidents of crime and the number of visitors who enter the park. The issue of visitation has not been affected.

Mr Johnson said that the two main challenges are poor signal and open access. A large percentage of people who are arrested for crime on the mountain are mostly people who are out on parole or bail. Criminal syndicates are also attracted to national parks. Such criminals are involved in poaching and drugs. There are safety measures which visitors must use on the mountains. Visitor behaviour can play a big role in tourists who experience injuries. Government and civil society must work together to combat crime. Members of the security cluster have been doing excellent work. The challenge is that the problem is bigger than the available resources. The number of SAPS resources assisting on the mountain compared to the daily murders happening on the Cape Flats is something to look at. The mitigating measures to combat crime is using technology and partnering with the media. The media must be engaged with because they are not playing a patriotic role.

Presentation by the Mount Nelson Hotel

Mr Xavier Lablauder, General Manager, Mount Nelson Hotel greeted everyone present. He said that he is French and has lived in Cape Town for the past eight years. Cleanliness and safety are the two most important factors that make a tourist destination attractive. The major concern in South Africa is crime and safety. The 2010 World Cup created a positive image of South Africa, but these perceptions have deteriorated. A city like New York is able to deal with the security issue and remain a major tourist destination. The Company Gardens is not safe for tourists to walk at night or during the day. At the Mount Nelson Hotel, there was a robbery and murder nearby. A number of guests were mugged and the transportation van for hotel staff has been hijacked a number of times. The issue of security affects both the guests and staff. The hotel has not been able to monitor theft as much as it would like to. The major concern is the way the media reported on the robbery. It stated incorrect facts. The robbers were in and out in less than five minutes and interacted with four guests. None of the guests were injured, and they received counselling from the hotel.

Mr Lablauder said most of the staff compliment deal with violence in the townships and they have requested the hotel to provide counselling for them. The hotel has plans to upgrade its security. This project is waiting to be approved and will hopefully be completed by the end 2019. No clients have cancelled their reservations except for a group of Americans and a large family from England. The hotel is in fact doing very well and its reservations for 2020 are ahead of last 2018 numbers. The hotel has now removed the jewellery shop from the property. The robbery was not aimed at attacking tourists, but rather at getting jewellery. The murder which happened nearby was not mentioned in the press too much. A number of guests are being mugged in the CBD and this is happening more often. There are also a number of in-room theft incidents where guests have their belongings stolen from their rooms. If the security issues are not resolved, there will continue to be negative consequences. If the government can get rid of crime, it will be able to solve unemployment issues.

Presentation by the South African National Editors’ Forum

Ms Asanda Ngoasheng, Council Member, SANEF, greeted members and thanked them for the opportunity to make a presentation. SANEF is a membership-based organisation and its key focus is on media freedom. Through research, it seeks to influence policy and legislation. It has various programmes and campaigns which focus on media freedom. It releases statements and meets with government officials. Its long-term work is focused on education and training – a sub-committee that trains journalists. It also has a diversity and ethics committee which focuses on issues of race, gender and other social determinants. In 2018, the sub-committee released a report, ‘the Glass Ceiling’, which contained research on sexism within the news room and the industry. It looked at the impact of job losses as it pertains to the issue of diversity.

Ms Ngoasheng said that tourism has a high-employment potential. The media on tourism has not been developmental in the past. Overall, the crime narrative needs to be reviewed and a new approach to reporting needs to be undertaken. The same applies to the narratives around xenophobia. This requires dialogue between government, the media and civil society. The reports focus mainly on tourists who end up getting hurt and not the millions of tourists who enjoy their stay with no incidents. The reason for this is the nature of the media itself. The industry faces the problem of having newsrooms which are under-resourced and under-staffed. There is huge under-funding across the board, whether in television, broadcasting, online or print. Younger journalists are forced to become multimedia journalists. The need for speed leads to an inability to critically analyse the issues around tourist and xenophobia crime.

Ms Ngoasheng said that journalists are members of society and hold biases like all South African citizens do. They are human beings who sit with their own societal problems and tend to look at society through a certain lens. The issue of under-funding means that stories are poorly researched. There is a lack of capacity for education and resources. Government, civil society and the media need to work together in a way that does not promote censorship or make the media the mouthpiece of government. There are landmark cases which show that tourists come to South Africa and perpetuate a crime. In some cases, they have been convicted and are in the correctional facilities. This shows that there are systems in place and there are successful outcomes. The relationship between government and the media needs to be strengthened when it comes to communication. There is not enough support provided in making statistics easily available. A monthly crime statistic should be released. It is important to see the media as a partner to brand South Africa, and for the government to rely on the media to disseminate information. One of the biggest issues around media conferences is that people from the African continent struggle to get visas. Journalists across the continent need to experience the country themselves to report on it. Especially when it comes to xenophobia, they should not be forced to rely on other external information and sources.

The Chairperson said collective responsibility is important to brand South Africa.

Presentation by the Department of Tourism

Mr Amos Mahlalela, Deputy Minister, Department of Tourism thanked the Chairperson for this joint initiative because it is long overdue. Tourism is one of the key economic sectors that has potential to contribute to the growth of the country. It will assist the country alleviate joblessness and inequality. The first question tourists ask is that of safety in South Africa. Tourists often decide not to come to the country because they fear for their safety. This joint initiative is important to push everyone to come up with a comprehensive national strategy that will provide a single message from many voices on the issue of safety. The issue of poverty and unemployment contributes to the issue of safety.

The Deputy Minister said that the Kruger National Park is a developed area in Mpumalanga and cuts across three municipalities. Communities who live around the national park are very poor and see no benefit from the park. There is a lot of economic activity within the park and it brings a lot of money to South Africa, but there is nothing left for the surrounding communities. This speaks to the issue of social responsibility and needs to be addressed. Products must be developed and owned by surrounding communities. There are safety monitors who operate in all the provinces, but the management and control of them is a problem. The training they receive is not related to tourism and hospitality. There is no clear accountability line on how they account for their work from both a tourism and safety perspective. The multiple training and skills they receive need to be dealt with. The MoU is going to help to deal with some of the issues.

The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister for attending the meeting and for the efforts of the Executive and the police in working together. Members expect regular updates on the way forward.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said that members appreciate the Deputy Minister’s attendance. The Deputy Minister of Police had to leave early to attend another meeting. The Committee is committed to an action plan with outcomes, and members will be monitoring the MoU. Crime remains the single biggest threat to the tourism industry. A comprehensive national strategy with targets and private security with performance indicators must be done. This workshop will not be a once-off thing it require continuous engagement.

Mr Victor Tharage, Director-General, Department of Tourism responded to Ms Ngoasheng that about a year ago, the Department went to Kenya around the same time there was unrest in Johannesburg. The South African broadcasting community that is active in Kenya was showing the unrest live. There was also a competition in America which a Kenyan youth group was participating in. This was reported by the South African media in Kenya too. Sometimes the message does get across on the African continent. The presentation shows the presence of South African tourism’s marketing footprint across different hubs throughout the world. The first functional attribute that tourists look for is a safe and secure destination and one that offers value for money. The tracking period from February 2018 to June 2019 shows the patterns stayed the same. South Africa is ranked last in safety and security in all focus markets, globally. This must be juxtaposed with perceptions that come from operators in trade and those responsible for bookings.

Mr Tharage said that the safety and security perception of South Africa as a destination is declining in the key overseas source markets. It is important for marketing and web analytics to identify someone who is seeking negative news, the platforms that such a person uses and others that direct people to negative news. The responsibility of the Department is to find a way to direct people to websites that promote positive news. There must be more done on the Department’s own website. This response will assist with the problem of the perception of South Africa. The Department has three types of responses. First, proactive measure identifies hotspots and feed messages to people as they approach a particular locality. The Department went to Mpumalanga to visit the communities that were protesting for service delivery. They were also protesting for issues pertaining to land settlements, land claims and existing agreements. These issues have nothing to do with tourists, but they were directed towards them. The communities said that they understand that the tourists are inconvenienced, but it is the only time community issues are heard by government. The Department is busy assisting the communities by opening up additional gates and creating commercial activity hubs in the areas. The issues are unlikely to be resolved unless there is social facilitation.

Mr Tharage said that responsive measures address the issue of crisis communication. When an incident occurs, there are issues of translation. A tourist who hires a car but does not know any of the South African languages needs immediate help. A database of translators to provide assistance will address this. When an incident occurs, the message that reaches the family of the victim is important to manage carefully. The embassy should be the first to know of the incident. A key challenge is that when an incident occurs, the first thing the victim wants to do is to leave the country. There must be better communication platforms so that the victim is not inconvenienced, and the police can be left to do their work. Technological communication must be used to ensure the process is resolved. This requires a working relationship with the National Prosecuting Authority too. There are after care measures which provide victim support.

Mr Tharage said that a communication protocol is very important. There was one incident where the Department went to the hospital to comfort a victim and was not aware the interaction was being broadcast live on WeChat in China. There was good feedback from this. There must be a consolidation of the risk analysis as it relates to the communications environment through the MoU. The Department has a responsibility to make sure the brand message of South Africa is positive and reaches consumers. There is a challenge where community policing forums have a number of volunteers who do not end up in a position where they receive a stipend. This creates a problem that needs to be looked at in more detail. The police will train the youth who are ready to act when necessary. The use of technology provides important opportunities in the tourism industry.

An official said that it is important to be aware of the mindset of a tourist that comes to South Africa. The Chinese and Indian market is less likely to visit the rural parts and villages of the country whereas the German and Dutch market want to travel to where the locals are. The safety strategy must aim to make sure South Africa is a safe destination. There is no better way of doing this than by educating South Africans about the value of tourism. Citizens will then take the responsibility of protecting tourists who come into the country. The strategy must look beyond protecting just the iconic places of Cape Town.  

Discussion

Mr Whitfield thanked the presenters for their inputs. It is important for the Committee to resolve to take certain steps going forward. The DOT sets out its communication protocol in the presentation and SAPS has its own protocol. He asked that if there is a National Tourism Safety Forum, should there not be a joint protocol of the platform. The emphasis has been on how to respond to crime after it happens. It is an overwhelming task for SAPS to combat crime. He asked how a dedicated tourism police unit can be established

Mr M Galo (AIC) said that it was agreed that all provinces would be part of the workshop, but some are absent. He asked if there are reasons why they did not attend. He agreed with Mr Whitfield that a unit must be established. There must be quarterly feedback on ways to further improve.

Mr Galo said that the Ministers must attend the next workshop. The Deputy Ministers are important, but it is also useful to have Ministers here to ensure all issues raised are implemented at department-level.

Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) said that the institutional mechanism is very important for coordination. On the SAPS presentation, he asked where the other role players in the forums would participate.

Ms Mofokeng addressing the presentation from the Gauteng department said that more meetings are needed with provinces when national government presents.

Ms Mofokeng asked how many officials go outside the country and come back to implement measures they have seen abroad. Tanzania has the presence of tour guides. South Africa does not have tour guides in all of the provinces. There are things to be learnt in other African countries that need to be used and implemented in South Africa. On the issue of the media, there should be people who report and specialise on tourism.

Ms Mofokeng said that there are boys outside the airport who ask to carry luggage and ask for money. She asked where the police are. It will scare someone who is not South African having strangers carrying your luggage. The next time hotels are invited to speak, the body of all the hotels should be invited and not just one hotel. Experiences from other hotels are important.

Mr Peter said he does not agree with Mr Johnson when he said the deployment of the army does not make sense. The intervention by government at this level does not seem to be appreciated. The Western Cape province should make the decision for the army to be withdrawn. And if the army is withdrawn, will the Western Cape government be ready for the crime that will ensue.

Mr Moteka said that the role of the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) is important because an active nation will have less crime. Once unemployment, inequality and poverty are alleviated, South Africa will attract investors. These three elements need to be focused on. Saying the Western Cape is treated as an island outside of South Africa is a reckless statement. The intervention in the Cape Flats is appreciated because people need to feel safe, but it is not a sustainable solution. The media is unpatriotic and reckless when they make statements that exaggerate one incident to be an issue of the entire country. Those statements should be made a crime. It is important to be aggressive on these issues. SRSA is going to help keep the youth active and pull them out of crime. The tourism sector is creating jobs and has to be protected.

Responses

Mr Unathi Henama from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) said that academia supports the work that is being done.

Ms Tauhieda Brandt from the Cape Peninsular University of Technology said that universities are ready to be included. The bottom-up approach is important. When government considers who else to include, they should consider the students who come with great force. It will also allow them to start thinking of ways they can become self-employed.

Mr Tharage said that the research component is critical. The Registrar of Tourist Guides has approximately 11 000 tour guides across the country. Some are employed by operators and some do freelance work in the parks and nature reserves. The aspect of information is part of the training that goes with tourist monitors. In Tanzania, they are well trained and converse well, but in reality, it is an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). There is comfort in the EPWP because the quality of training they receive allows them to do something by the time they exit the system. On the communications protocol, there is currently two of them, but there are conversations on this happening daily. There are certain tactics and protocols that are not made public. If it is not a big thing, it should not be made into one.

Ms Joemat-Pettersson said a combined summary will be made from herself and the Chairperson. The National Tourism Safety Forum will be monitored. The response will be at both national and provincial level. The matter of stipends for volunteers was already dealt with in the budget. The two Portfolio Committees are committed to working together and addressing the challenges.

The Chairperson said the presentations were from Gauteng and the Western Cape. In the next quarter, the Free State and Limpopo will make presentations. It will be easier to interact with a body which represents all of the universities rather than interacting with them individually. On the issue of communication, this will be strengthened between Parliament and SANEF. The villages, townships and informal settlements need to be addressed. The focus must be on where poverty is. People who live on the periphery need to feel part of the economy. At every village level, a people-driven oversight forum must be established to see what is happening in the villages and townships.

In the next meeting, the Department of Communication; Sports, Arts and Culture; International Relations and Cooperation; and Home Affairs will try to be in attendance. The Department of Education must work together with SRSA to see what happens to young people after they leave school.

The meeting was adjourned.

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