BrandSA briefed the Committee on its mandate, activities and programmes in relation to tourism development. Members were at the outset informed that the South African brand was bleeding due to issues of load-shedding, crime, the Coronavirus and Xenophobia etc. The briefing spoke to BrandSA’s purpose, how it did things, why it did things, its value proposition etc. BrandSA followed an integrated multi-channel approach of proactive marketing, proactive communication and reputation management. The Committee was provided with insight into some of the platforms of BrandSA which included the Nation Brand Forum, the Place Brand Observer Media Partnership and the BrandSA Master Class. The briefing continued with an overview of some of the initiatives of Brand SA which included the Global South Africans Programme that aimed to strengthen nation brand advocacy amongst South Africans living abroad. On collaborations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at the 11th Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA (BRICS) Summit 2019, BrandSA provided support to the Team SA delegation in Brasilia. On tourism stakeholder relations initiatives, BrandSA collaborated with the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and SA Tourism at the Africa Travel Indaba in May 2019. On tourism global market initiatives, BrandSA supported and co-hosted the “Dis-cover South Africa” Open Day with the South African Embassy and SA Tourism in September 2019.
The Committee appreciated the briefing by BrandSA as it had shed light on BrandSA’s activities as it pertained to tourism. Members did point out that people were unaware of what BrandSA did and why they did it. Members felt that BrandSA needed to market itself better. The Chairperson emphasised that the focus of the Committee was to address poverty, inequality and unemployment in villages, townships and small towns. From a branding perspective the world needed to know how SA was doing and what it had on offer. Foreign investment was needed in villages, townships and small towns. How did BrandSA intend to brand villages, townships and small towns? Some members felt that there was duplication in the responsibilities of BrandSA and SA Tourism. Members observed that the briefing had not been clear about the relationship between BrandSA and SA Tourism. There needed to be a structured relationship between BrandSA and SA Tourism. Members appreciated the fact that BrandSA used domestic influencers to market the South African brand but asked whether international influencers were also used. On investment into social media BrandSA was asked how much real money was used. Members asked what support BrandSA provided to embassies in them furthering BrandSA’s efforts. On reputational damage to SA due to crime BrandSA was asked how it managed the issue. BrandSA was asked what its response to the increasing number of cases of the Coronavirus in SA was. BrandSA was asked what type of damage control it did around negative messaging by media. How was the media engaged to rather portray SA in a positive light rather than in a negative light? This did not however mean that negative things should be hidden. Members observed that BrandSA in its briefing had not said much about using SA’s historical past in its branding efforts. Arts, culture and places of historical significance should be used to market the South African brand. Members also observed that no empirical information/ numbers had been provided to the Committee. Did BrandSA have a target of what tourist numbers to SA should be? BrandSA was asked whether its efforts had reached its expectations or even surpassed it. Members urged BrandSA to track what other countries were doing on branding so that South Africa’s figures could also go up. Members also urged BrandSA to have a look at the Committee’s resolutions and strategic plan on where the Committee wished to take tourism over the next four years. In this way BrandSA could align its work with that of the Committee’s. The Chairperson pointed out that there needed to be a clear, consistent message about educating South Africans on how to protect SA’s brand, sustain the brand and to grow the brand. He felt that BrandSA through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (DCOGTA) had to engage with municipalities at a deeper level. Each municipality needed to know how to promote the South African brand, grow the brand and sustain the brand. BrandSA had to lobby to package the positive achievements of SA.
The Committee considered its Draft Programme for the Second Term.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson stated that in 2019 the Committee had taken the decision to work with as many stakeholders as possible and BrandSA was one of them. The Committee needed to understand what BrandSA did and how it worked with the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and SA Tourism. The meeting was not about strategic plans and annual performance plans but rather about how BrandSA executed its mandate. The Committee operated in respect of three responsibilities. The first was to perform oversight over the Executive. The second was to ensure law making that was in line with the constitution and thirdly to ensure that there was public participation. The Committee developed different programmes to achieve the aforementioned three areas of work. Today’s meeting was in the midst of concerns around the Coronavirus. The Virus affected tourism massively. President Cyril Ramaphosa had pronounced that work should be done to attract 22m tourists to SA by 2030. How would the Coronavirus affect meeting this target? Ministers were discussing possible travel bans from China and Italy. SA had to deal with core challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Tourism was a driver to address these challenges. There were other challenges as well. Lack of transformation in the tourism sector was one of them. In September 2020 the Committee would assess how SA performed on transformation in the tourism sector. In other words, how tourism had been implemented to alleviate poverty, inequality and unemployment in villages, townships and small towns. These should be the focus areas whilst maintaining what there was in cities. From a branding perspective the world needed to know how SA was doing and what it had to offer. Foreign investment was needed in villages, townships and small towns. He said that there were three phases. The first was development, the second repositioning and the third renewal. SA had to move in this linear direction.
Briefing by BrandSA on its mandate, activities and programmes in relation to tourism development
Ms Thulisile Manzini Acting Chief Executive Officer (ACEO), BrandSA, said that the briefing would speak to who BrandSA was and what it did. She stated that the South African brand was bleeding due to issues of load-shedding, crime, the Coronavirus and Xenophobia etc. People from around the world should be thinking of SA as a place to invest in and to visit for recreational purposes.
Ms Sithembile Ntombela Acting Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), BrandSA, provided context of what BrandSA was. She spoke to BrandSA’s purpose, how it did things, why it did things, its value proposition etc. All of the aforementioned tied in with BrandSA’s brand promise of inspiring new and different ways. Detail was provided on BrandSA’s presence around the world which included offices in New York, London and Beijing. BrandSA followed an integrated multi-channel approach of proactive marketing, proactive communication and reputation management. The Committee was provided with insight into some of the platforms of BrandSA which included the Nation Brand Forum, the Place Brand Observer Media Partnership and the BrandSA Master Class.
Ms Mpumi Mabuza General Manager: Stakeholder Relations, BrandSA, spoke to the Global South Africans Programme which aimed to strengthen nation brand advocacy amongst South Africans living abroad. On collaborations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at the 11th Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA (BRICS) Summit 2019 BrandSA amongst others provided support to the Team SA delegation in Brasilia and provided support for BRICS Business Council engagements during BRICS. On tourism stakeholder relations initiatives, BrandSA collaborated with the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and SA Tourism at the Africa Travel Indaba in May 2019. On tourism global market initiatives, BrandSA supported and co-hosted the “Dis-cover South Africa” Open Day with the South African Embassy and SA Tourism in September 2019. Upcoming activities included the World Football Summit 2020 in Durban.
Mr T Myeni (ANC) asked how BrandSA intended to brand villages, townships and small towns given that the Committee wished for these places to be the focus of tourism.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) felt that there was duplication in the responsibilities of BrandSA and of SA Tourism. He questioned why BrandSA was not an entity of the National Department of Tourism. Why was BrandSA housed in the Presidency? He felt that BrandSA should be incorporated into SA Tourism. The two entities seemed to have the same intention and they had the same objective in common. What could BrandSA do that SA Tourism could not do? He pointed out that the CEO of BrandSA had spoken about the brand of SA bleeding due to realities like Xenophobia, unemployment, the Coronavirus, load-shedding and crime. He asked what about the reality of racism, especially officially established racism in Orania in the Northern Cape. Orania only had white Afrikaners and it was racism at its best. Orania was like a mini country within SA. He felt that Orania was killing the South African brand. A place like Orania was against all reconciliation efforts that had taken place in SA. A place like Orania should not be allowed to exist. He continued that the briefing had been quiet about what BrandSA was doing to benefit villages, townships and small towns. What was the Brand Forum? Who formed part of the Forum? He asked whether villages were represented in the Forum. He pointed out that as usual all efforts were focussed in cities. It was the case with all government entities. The cities became overpopulated and nobody returned to villages. Rural areas and villages were left behind. Villages were pretty much the same as when Apartheid had ended. It seemed that village people were only useful during election times and thereafter they were forgotten. BrandSA in promoting SA’s brand should do so in a broad manner to include areas like villages.
Ms Manzini regarding the work of BrandSA and SA Tourism pointed out that SA Tourism focussed on tourism. BrandSA went beyond that. She was aware that there was the issue of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Rationalisation that had to be borne in mind. The bottom line was to grow the South African brand. She explained that the Action Brand Forum was attended by stakeholders who contributed to the promotion and marketing of SA. BrandSA encouraged people to play their part, even people from villages. BrandSA had a unit to bring on board business, civil society and government. She mentioned an interesting concept called “Play Your Part”.
Mr H Gumbi (DA) stated that the reputation and marketing of SA was important. BrandSA spoke about using domestic influencers. What about international influencers? What about Miss SA Ms Zozibini Tunzi who had won the Ms Universe Title? Influencers with power were said to be those with 30 000 to 60 000 followers on social media platforms. BrandSA was asked what international influencers it had used. What international influencers were used and were they paid? On investment into social media BrandSA was asked how much real money was used. He asked BrandSA whether they used micro targeting. He understood BrandSA to have a small footprint around the world. He asked what support was provided to embassies in them furthering BrandSA’s efforts. What were BrandSA’s expectations and the outcome that was hoped for? On reputational damage to SA due to crime in SA being such a problem for a long time BrandSA was asked how it managed the issue. He highlighted the issue of canned lion hunting in SA that was getting negative publicity. The Coronavirus was spreading and the number of cases in SA was increasing. What was BrandSA’s response?
Ms Ntombela stated that there were micro and macro influencers. On macro influencers say for instance on Gender Based Violence (GBV) BrandSA would use experts. On issues of SA’s economy commentators were targeted. On the micro side BrandSA targeted influencers with numbers of followers on social media platforms. Influencers on social media however wished to get paid. BrandSA approached the influencers and offered to make a donation of R20 000 to a charity of their choice. On GBV in 2019 a campaign on foreigners was done involving Cassper Nyovest. The message was around Africa being one. BrandSA did invest in social media. Social media was the do or die of brands.
Ms Mabuza said that BrandSA engaged with heads of missions before they were deployed. The master class showed that SA should be marketed. There was a toolkit in place that was helpful. BrandSA supported missions as they planned their marketing platforms. Missions were facing challenges on the lack of alignment between provinces and municipalities when they marketed themselves abroad.
Ms M Gomba (ANC) observed that nothing in the briefing had said anything about efforts in highlighting SA’s historical past and the strides that SA had made to become a democratic country after Apartheid. Nothing was said about Human Rights Day and Sharpeville Day as it was referred to before. Langa a township in the Western Cape was also an important place during the freedom struggle. Tourists were very interested to hear about SA’s historical past and it should be included under branding efforts. Places like Robben Island and the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum were well marketed. She noted that arts and culture were very much to be found in villages. Were these villages marketed to tourists? She added that tourists would also be interested in the gallows at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility where under Apartheid people were hung. The World Travel Market (WTM) in London and the Internationale Tourismus Borse (ITB) Berlin two of the biggest tourism and travel fairs which she had attended. Small players in the tourism industry should be exposed to these types of tourism and travel fairs. Exposure was important to build confidence.
Ms Mabuza stated that BrandSA did celebrate and honour days of national significance. BrandSA went out to companies to speak to them about SA’s constitution and the significance of thereof. As BrandSA it relied on SA Tourism on the ITB. Comments made were noted.
Ms S Xego (ANC) pointed out that BrandSA had conceded that people did not know what they did and why they did it. She felt that BrandSA needed to market themselves better. BrandSA was asked in its efforts of marketing SA whether they traced where Ms Universe 2019 was from and from which village. She wished to get an understanding of BrandSA’s sources of information. Authentic sources of information were perhaps found in villages and small dorpies. She also asked how BrandSA linked Qunu the village that President Nelson Mandela was from to the legend himself. BrandSA was asked how it did damage control where there were areas of disagreement between communicators and where negative messaging on SA was broadcast.
Ms Ntombela said that BrandSA would work with the manager of Ms Universe. A welcome session was held at OR Tambo International Airport. BrandSA sponsored to take Ms Universe 2019 to her village and to meet her class teacher. BrandSA packaged it and placed it on social media. She added that BrandSA celebrated ordinary South Africans who did extraordinary work. This covered people in villages as well. There were “Play Your Part” ambassadors that were local persons who had 5000 plus followers on social media.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) observed that the briefing had spoken to who BrandSA was and what it did. However, no empirical information/numbers were provided to the Committee. Did BrandSA have a target of what tourist numbers to SA should be? He also asked whether BrandSA had any idea of where they would like to be. Had BrandSA’s efforts reached its expectations or surpassed it. He did not see any quantification either. He stated that SA Tourism had quoted brand positivity figures. Did BrandSA do it as well or did BrandSA piggyback on SA Tourism. What were the drivers on brand positivity, especially around issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV), the Coronavirus and crime affecting it? Perhaps BrandSA needed to track what other countries were doing on branding so that SA’s figures could also go up. Perhaps BrandSA should also look at what the trends were over the last ten years. This would give an indication on whether SA was going forward or backward.
Ms Manzini explained that BrandSA had packaged its briefing to the Committee based on the brief of the Committee. BrandSA’s research unit would come and address the Committee on the matter of numbers. She stated that BrandSA was engaged in media monitoring. BrandSA tracked where SA sat. For instance, on science and technology SA was ranked 18th. SA was ranked 2nd on the open budget index. SA was also ranked 47th on the quality of roads and 19th on finance out of 141 countries. BrandSA did intensive research on where SA was placed and would provide the figures to the Committee.
Ms Ntombela said that BrandSA used targeting. BrandSA took into consideration figures from the World Bank on which economies were growing in double digits. Countries in Asia were looked at. She added that it came down to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs were aligned from the top for countries like India and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, this was not the case in SA. Negative media reporting affected SA’s brand. She pointed out that BrandSA hosted media houses and gave them a master class. It was BrandSA’s job to influence the media. It was being done.
Mr Z Peter (ANC) said that the Committee had taken a decision to take a different course than what had always been done. Tourism needed to be taken to villages, townships and small towns. He was concerned that in the media space SA was portrayed as one of the bad countries. Small incidents around foreigners in SA were blown out of proportion and the effect was that tourists were driven away from SA. Communities in SA had to be educated to have a sense of pride. BrandSA was asked how it intended to change the status quo. He urged BrandSA to look at the Committee’s resolutions and strategic plan on where the Committee wished to take tourism for the next four years. BrandSA should therefore align its work with that of the Committee’s.
Mr H April (ANC) said that he was covered by questions asked by other members.
The Chairperson was pleased that BrandSA had collaborations with other bodies. The resilience of any country was its people. There needed to be a clear, consistent message about educating South Africans on how to protect SA’s brand, sustain the brand and to grow the brand. BrandSA needed to also work with the Department of Basic Education to educate school kids about how important SA’s brand was. Scholars had to be proud of SA. He and members observed that the presentation had not been clear about the relationship between BrandSA and SA Tourism. There needed to be a structured relationship between BrandSA and SA Tourism. BrandSA was asked how it engaged with media to portray SA in a positive light rather than just highlighting negative things all the time. This did not mean that the media had to hide negative things. All that was needed was a positive narrative. A message should be sent out to the rest of the world that SA notwithstanding its challenges was still a destination of choice when it came to tourism as well as investment. Media should be provided with detail on what made SA a destination of choice. BrandSA should show media in qualitative and quantitative terms how things were packaged. He felt that BrandSA had to engage with municipalities on a deeper level through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (DCOGTA). He noted that almost 98% of Local Economic Development (LED) gave little attention to the brand in respect of tourism. Each municipality had to know how to promote the brand, grow the brand and sustain the brand. BrandSA being in the Presidency had to package the positive stories of SA and to communicate it to the rest of the world. There had to be reliable and effective platforms for communication. He pointed out that opportunities were being missed to brand every village in SA based on their particular histories, culture and heritages. The same could be said for townships. This could strengthen the brand. BrandSA furthermore had to lobby to package the positive achievements of SA. He said that during a recent presentation by the Chinese Consul General to the Committee over the impact of the Coronavirus on tourism the Consul General had made it a point to state that China intended to stamp out poverty by the end of 2020. The Chinese Consul General was essentially marketing the Chinese brand.
Ms Manzini noted the suggestions made by members on how BrandSA could improve. She did point out that the branding of SA was not up to BrandSA alone. She agreed that the branding of villages was important but there was the issue of budgetary constraints that had to be considered. She said that perhaps National Treasury could come on board. On local municipalities she said that BrandSA was working on a district development model which was being discussed with municipalities.
Ms Ntombela stated that branding SA was a huge task. A business case should have been done from the start. From bottom up to top down the same message must be given. SA could learn from developed countries how they built their brand.
Ms Mabuza said that face to face engagements took place in provinces.
Mr Lumko Mtimde Special Adviser to the Presidency, said that BrandSA was strategically located in the Presidency in order to partner with others. BrandSA reported to the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS). On SOE rationalisation in the 6th parliament there was the National Macro Organisation Programme which brought about a change in the number of entities, departments and Ministries. It was correct that South Africans had to be their own positive ambassadors. Much work had been done post 1994 but he felt that more could be done. Positive things in SA had to be communicated. The ideas of members were taken to heart.
Mr Gumbi felt that he had not gotten a response from BrandSA around what they were doing about the controversial practise of canned lion hunting.
Ms Mabuza stated that the canned lion issue had come to the attention of BrandSA. Research that had been done found that commercial hunting was the issue. Investors did have an issue with commercial hunting. Commercial hunting was however not a top brand disabler. BrandSA had not as yet zoomed into canned lion hunting.
Mr Moteka also pointed out that no response was given over the Orania issue. Orania was a community of 1600 persons who were trying to establish a country within a country.
The Chairperson responded that it would be difficult for BrandSA to respond to the issue of Orania. The Committee had agreed to visit Orania and the issue would be revisited. The constitution of SA contained a clause which provided for self-determination. He asked how BrandSA reacted to the Coronavirus.
Ms Mazini explained that BrandSA looked at the brand as a whole. If something like Orania affected the brand, then it would be considered. She said that some research work had been done on lions.
Ms Ntombela responded that BrandSA had met with the GCIS and on Corona, a three-pronged approach was proposed. Firstly, one had to look at the medical facts and have an alignment of messaging. Secondly there was do not panic campaigns on social media and thirdly there was openness and honest campaigns. Currently things were at the do not panic campaign.
The Chairperson said that there should be a central message that SA was ready. There were lots of facets to consider such as detection, treatment etc. He was impressed that the briefing had been led by three women. Women were capable of leading. He noted that the feedback that should be taken back to President Cyril Ramaphosa was that the Committee was satisfied with the briefing, that responses to questions asked were good enough and that the Committee had made recommendations which BrandSA had taken back. However, there was still room for improvement on collaboration. He pointed out that there would be integration and thereafter institutionalisation.
Draft Programme: Second Term (14 April – 15 June 2020)
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, took the Committee through the Draft Programme.
The Chairperson said that on the oversight visit to Limpopo Province the Committee would be divided up so that each of the five districts would be covered. He on technology to be used on oversight said that engagement with parliament was taking place over the inclusion of participation of the public on the parliament APP (Cellphone Application) in respect of tourism so that issues of transformation could be dealt with. On research the Committee would be working with universities to get the views of students who were studying tourism on transformation.
Mr Peter stated that the Committee was supposed to take tourism to municipalities. He suggested a seminar where all municipalities and provincial governments could be present. The Minister of Tourism could make an address at the seminar.
Ms Gomba supported Mr Peter’s suggestion and said that Members of Executive Councils (MECs) on Tourism also had to be present at the seminar.
Mr Moteka said that an international visit to Kenya should be placed on the Committee Programme. Kenya was doing well on tourism and lessons could be learnt by SA.
Mr Gumbi said that other countries excelling in tourism should also be considered. He said that Wesgro had stated that Jakarta in Indonesia had a growing tourism sector even though they had the same levels of crime as SA.
Ms Xego responded that there was already a conference of sorts on what Mr Peter had suggested. It happened once a year and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and National Department of Tourism (NDT) amongst others were present.
Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo Committee Content Adviser observed that he got the feeling that members were concerned that issues that they had raised were falling through the cracks. He assured members that things were not falling through the cracks. Committee Support Staff were working on all the issues that members had raised. Work was being done on the Tourism Summit and he confirmed that there was a Local Government Tourism Conference that Ms Xego had referred to. All the Committee’s issues would be built into the Committee’s Five Year Strategic Plan and into its Annual Performance Plans (APPs). He added that research was being done on country profiles. The Committee could decide on which countries to undertake a study tour to. He said that Committee Support Staff had been hamstrung by the programme of parliament.
The Chairperson said that not all issues could be dealt with individually in the Draft Programme. Perhaps there was a need to combine issues. He felt the Draft Programme to be fine as it was.
Minutes dated 3 March 2020 was adopted unamended.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.