Legislatures’ Tourism Oversight Forum: State of tourism in Rural Areas

Tourism

24 June 2020
Chairperson: Mr S Mahumapelo (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Portfolio Committee on Tourism, 24 JUNE 2020
Audio: State of tourism in Rural Areas 

The Portfolio Committee met with representatives from the provincial Portfolio Committees on Economic Development and Tourism to discuss the state of tourism in the country, as well as the programmes and approaches to tourism development in villages, townships and small towns.

 

The Chairperson explained that the reason for the creation of the Legislature Tourism Oversight Forum (LETOFO) was to emphasise the fact that Parliament, at the national level, and the provincial legislatures were representatives of the same sector, and needed to promote a unified approach to problems affecting the tourism sector in the country. He stressed the importance of the sector’s contribution to reducing the three main problems facing the country -- poverty, inequality and unemployment. The tourism sector’s approach should therefore be focused more on the areas that were impacted the most by these challenges, which were the villages, townships and small towns.

 

The provincial Portfolio Committee representatives expressed overall excitement about the creation of the LETOFO, and highlighted their willingness to work with the national Portfolio Committee, as well as with local government in addressing their tourism needs. They drew attention to the challenges they faced, including the negative impact of COVID-19 of tourism on their provinces.

 

Members were concerned that some provinces had failed to attend the meeting, and suggested that they be held accountable. There was overall agreement on the forum’s objectives and its terms of reference. They also supported the need for the grading of accommodation establishments, but insisted that this should be done free of charge, as the costs suggested would be prohibitive for those operating in areas where tourism development was required the most.  

Meeting report

Chairperson’s introductory comments

 

Intergovernmental collaboration on tourism

 

The Chairperson said that both the provincial legislatures and Parliament, at the national level, represented the same sector, which was the legislative sector. The Portfolio Committee of Tourism in Parliament, during its deliberations since 2019, had realised that there had not been consistent interactions between Members of the Committee, at the national level, and their counterparts in the provincial Portfolio Committees, and at the municipal level it was even worse. Because they were a single sector, they would have to develop a process of working together as both national Members of Parliament and their counterparts in the provinces. This initiative was aimed at ensuring the strengthening of one of their important responsibilities, which was doing oversight on the Executive.

 

He said that on the Executive side, the Minister meets with Members of the Executive Councils (MECs) from various provinces to look at their Annual Performance Plans, as well as in the context of the Intergovernmental Relations Act and Framework, on a quarterly basis. They also meet to look at the extent to which they were implementing their annual performance plans and all their strategic objectives as various departments and provinces.

 

The Portfolio Committee had decided that it would be important for them to begin an arrangement that was similar to the one that existed on the Executive side, so that they could do effective, efficient and systematic oversight on the Executive. They had decided that they would interact with the provinces so that they could establish a Legislature Tourism Oversight Forum. They would meet at Parliament on a quarterly basis to reflect on issues of mutual interaction as they related to doing oversight on tourism, so that those who were in Parliament did not think that they were in a more senior position than the provinces and municipalities, but rather to understand that they were a single sector that needed to work together to confront the problems that were facing South Africa.

 

Tourism’s response to country’s challenges

 

The Chairperson said it was known that the unemployment rate in the country was at over 30%, so a critical question was what the tourism sector could do to help reduce those numbers. The second challenge was that the poverty rate in the country was at around 56% and 57%, and was also indicated in the National Development Plan (NDP) as one of the problems facing the country. The third challenge faced by the country was inequality, as South Africa was ranked among the countries with the most inequality in terms of the Global Inequality Index. The country also faced a problem of youth unemployment, which was hovering at around 54%.

 

There were many other problems that were faced by the country. For instance, tourism as an economic activity was embedded mainly in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal -- particularly in the Durban metro -- as well as the Western Cape and a little bit of the Eastern Cape, in Port Elizabeth. The little bits of tourism activities happened in the cities in various provinces, but when one went to the periphery of the provinces, where the problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality were mostly found, there was not much tourism activity happening.

 

He said the Portfolio Committee had decided that throughout their term of office for the next four years, they would undergo a process of re-branding, re-positioning and renewing the oversight processes that they would be doing on tourism in dealing with the challenges. Their special focus was going to be on where poverty, unemployment and inequality were, which was in the villages, townships and small towns (dorpies). The Portfolio Committee found it important to confront oversight as their own responsibility at the national level as well as in the provinces, and to base their focus on where poverty, inequality and unemployment were found.

 

This year’s labour survey from Statistics South Africa confirmed that the problems of inequality, poverty and unemployment in South Africa were more embedded in the villages, townships and small towns. COVID-19 had also further exposed the extent to which the people in those communities were almost forever vulnerable, because they did not have the necessary means to be able to attend to some of the problems that they faced. For instance, when they were told to practice physical distancing, it was a big problem for people who lived in shacks. South Africa had a long way to go when it came to the three problem areas, and the question that should be asked was how tourism could contribute to help the country overcome these problems.

 

Tourism at the municipal level

 

The Chairperson said that the Portfolio Committee had also realised that at the municipal level, the tourism issues were not getting the necessary serious attention which they deserved. One would find that in the local economic development (LED) plan and budgets of a particular municipality, tourism did not get the necessary attention. When looking at the existence of establishments in villages, townships and small towns in terms of the infrastructure needed to ignite tourism activities, they were almost non-existent. Funding for tourism-related economic activities and empowering investments had been skewed in South Africa for the last 26 years. The skewedness of tourism funding had been favouring the big cities such as Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

 

They were also struggling in Parliament to get information directly from the ground level about tourism activities and doing oversight, which was why the Portfolio Committee had decided to work together with the provinces to make sure that they established the Legislature Tourism Oversight Forum. The Forum helped them to have a presence of in every village, township, informal settlement and small town, so that they could list those that were not benefiting from tourism, and push forward the agenda to make sure they could benefit.

 

The Portfolio Committee was not saying that the existing processes of tourism economic activities in Gauteng, the Western Cape or KwaZulu-Natal, had to be dismantled. Instead, they were saying that it was time to allow tourism to shift its focus to accommodate the small communities, as the big cities had shown that they were capable of maintaining themselves. The Chairperson then handed over to Dr Khuzwayo to provide a presentation on the tourism framework which was sent to the Members of Parliament.

 

Legislature Tourism Oversight Forum (LETOFO)

 

Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Content Advisor: Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Parliament of South Africa, said that he would provide a recap of the meeting that the Portfolio Committee had with the provincial legislatures, as there were inputs that had been made by the provinces on the concept paper and terms of reference.

 

The purpose of the Legislature Tourism Oversight Forum was to align and strengthen oversight over tourism development and marketing by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, in partnership with the Provincial Portfolio Committees responsible for tourism. The first objective was to institutionalise the arrangements so that they could have a structure that would coordinate between Parliament and the provincial legislatures to strengthen oversight. Another objective was to identify the important areas of cooperation among the Executive/Departments, and to work together with the oversight arms of the state in order to ensure that those cross-cutting issues were addressed. The goal was to facilitate the adoption of a mechanism to deal with common tourism challenges across the spheres of government.

 

The Portfolio Committee was looking at the promotion and facilitation of collaboration and cooperative oversight on tourism across the legislative sector in order to ensure effective service delivery. This was because normally, when Parliament went to the provinces, they were not accompanied by the provincial legislature, so the forum would make sure that when Parliament visited a particular province, the provincial legislature would be part of the delegation and the oversight work that was done. The purpose of this was to integrate provincial legislatures as an integral part of the oversight work of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tourism. This would assist in promoting constant and consistent communication on tourism oversight within the legislative sector.

 

Dr Khuzwayo said it would be important for the provinces to share best practices and benchmark tourism oversight work within the legislative sector, as some provinces were doing better than others in terms of domestic tourism. As a group, the legislative sector could look at the best practices in order to help the provinces that were lacking, by creating action plans that would assist them.

 

The LETOFO would be funded by Parliament, as well as by the respective legislatures and municipalities, based on who was hosting the meetings, as the funding would be based on the cost of the venues and the refreshments during the meetings, which was not a huge expense. The role of the forum was to provide a platform for the legislative sector to discuss national, provincial and local tourism oversight issues, including tourism planning, development marketing and the impact of legislation, policies, bylaws and other issues of mutual interest. It would also serve as a consultative structure to deal immediately with emerging tourism trends that had the potential to disrupt and hamper the growth of the tourism sector.

 

Referring to COVID-19 interventions, he said the structure could be used to look at how the response was coordinated at a legislative level by provinces, and how the national Executive response filtered down to the provincial level. The forum also had a role to serve as an advisory body and a peer-review mechanism for the legislative sector on tourism oversight.

 

From time to time, there might be national campaigns to drive a positive progressive tourism agenda and tourism development, and based on the agenda, the national campaigns would be implemented and each province would have to follow the particular campaigns which would be monitored by the structure. The structure would also assist in identifying people or organisations at the ground level that could assist in oversight, development and marketing. It would be in liaise with municipalities and community-based organisations/associations in the villages, townships and small towns to ensure a formalised interaction, with structured feedback mechanisms.

 

As guiding principles, the Portfolio Committee felt that it should conduct the oversight, but in doing so it should not be antagonistic but cooperative and collaborative in its approach. The alignment of national, provincial and local government was paramount for achieving effective and efficient oversight. Every resolution that would be implemented in the forum would be binding so that when tracking was done, every province as well as Parliament could account for those resolutions.

 

Referring to the duration and dissolution of the forum, he said the LETOFO would not be dissolved, but would start now in the Sixth Parliament. The suggestion was that it should not be dissolved, but the legacy report of the Sixth Parliament should contain a recommendation for the Seventh Parliament to continue with LETOFO for better coordination of tourism oversight in the country.

 

The composition of the forum would consist of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism, the Chairpersons of the provincial Portfolio Committees responsible for Tourism, or any other mandated person, the Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leadership, the chairperson of the South African Local Government Association, as well as the parliamentary and legislatures’ support staff for committees responsible for tourism. This would include Members of Parliament by invitation from the Chairperson. The other members that would be included in the forum by invitation would include the chairpersons of South African Tourism, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa and the provincial destination management organisations, the Minister of Tourism and the Director-General of the Department of Tourism, ministers of identified sector departments, MECs responsible for tourism in the provinces and relevant tourism officials in the provinces visited, the heads of departments for provincial departments responsible for tourism, the chairpersons of Portfolio Committees responsible for tourism in the metros, districts, and local municipalities in the provinces visited, and lastly, institutions of higher learning.

 

Dr Khuzwayo said that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism should be the permanent chairperson of the forum, while the Chairperson of the hosting province would be the co-chairperson of the meeting. In a case where the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Tourism was not available, the Portfolio Committee Whip or another Member nominated from the provincial legislature would co-chair the meeting. The general administration secretariat in Parliament would anchor the forum, but this would be done in partnership with the provincial support staff.

 

The determination of agenda items would be submitted to the secretariat and distributed before meetings, with time frames contained in the document. The meetings would be convened on a quarterly basis, and the minutes would also be dealt with by the secretariat at the national level, in collaboration with the hosting provinces, as well as the identification of strategic oversight issues. During the quarterly meetings, each of the provinces would be asked to provide a brief report on the current state of affairs in their respective provinces. If there was an issue that needed to be resolved by the forum, the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act would be used in terms of the provisions it provides, as there were guidelines for effective conflict management in the Act. The Act would be used so that there were no disputes over resolutions and any other matter that might arise.

 

The terms of reference had been submitted to Parliament, and attached to it was the memorandum of understanding that had been circulated around the provinces which needed to be finalised. It was still awaiting the response from the support staff as to how the documents were to be formalised by Parliament. After the response from the support staff, the forum would be finalised.

 

There was a request that the provinces should send a list of their villages to the secretariat, and the National House of Traditional Leadership had said that they would assist in that regard. Provinces had been requested to facilitate that process so that they could move forward to the formation of village tourism forums.

 

The Chairperson said that the intention of the forum included how they had to attend to issues of transformation in the tourism sector. The Committee had taken a decision that starting this year, every September they would inform South Africans on the extent to which they though the tourism sector was transforming, or had been transformed, and also what could be done in order to accelerate the transformation so that the future generations could inherit the legacy.

 

He asked the representatives from the provinces to comment, and requested that they provide the number of townships and villages that were in each province so that the Portfolio Committee could get an idea of the level of support needed.

 

Provincial representatives’ comments

 

Mpumalanga

 

Ms M Latchminarain (ANC), Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Economic Development and Tourism, Mpumalanga, said the province had not been invited in the previous meeting in December, so they had not prepared information relating to townships.

 

The provincial and national spheres operating independently normally created a duplication of responsibilities, because while the province might be focusing on a specific tourism intervention, the national legislature might not know that and end up doing the same. She welcomed the path that the forum was taking, so that there would be no duplication of the activities in the Province. She had always said that tourism was very important in creating jobs for the people in the townships, and what concerned her was that most of their guesthouses, as well as bed and breakfast establishments in the townships were not given the attention they deserved, as the grading in the townships was not similar to the grading in the cities. People in the townships needed to be assisted in order to get the necessary grading so that people from abroad could visit the historic local venues.

 

She said that Mpumalanga also took its own tourism for granted, in the sense that they were making the Kruger National Park and God’s Window the norm, as they were the two main tourism sites that were focused on, instead of also embracing other attractions. She commended KwaZulu-Natal for going a step further by using the Moses Mabhida stadium, as it was still visible that there was work at the stadium to improve it as a tourist attraction. The same should be done in Mpumalanga for the Mbombela Stadium, so that it could also bring in funds. The tourist attractions in Mpumalanga also needed to be maintained, and the other attractions needed to be utilised, such as the mountains surrounding the province. She added that as the youngest member of the legislature in Mpumalanga, she felt that young people should be given an opportunity to share their opinions and views.

 

Eastern Cape

 

Mr P Ndamase (ANC), Chairperson: Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Eastern Cape, said that the information requested by the Chairperson would be forwarded to the Parliamentary offices by Monday next week.

 

He welcomed the formation of the forum, as it would help to make sure that they were able to coordinate their tourism activities with the whole country as the oversight work was happening. The infrastructure backlog in the Eastern Cape was negatively affecting tourism, and some of the issues would need to be dealt with by the province on its own, as well as with some intervention from the national government.

 

Western Cape

 

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA), Member of the Western Cape Portfolio Committee on Economic Development and Tourism, said the Department of Economic Development and Tourism had submitted a document late last year which had listed 100 towns and settlements, and 67 townships. The small towns and townships had not been separated in terms of the central activity.

 

In the Western Cape, there had been hard work in the promotion and marketing of “home stays,” as well as restaurants serving traditional food and having cultural activities such as dancers, etc. These activities seemed to be very popular with international tourists. Investment in training had seen a significant expansion, although a lot of work still needed to be done to allow people to set up their own shuttle services and act as tourism guides -- specifically people specialising in township tours, heritage tours, and the natural beauty of the Western Cape. While there were a lot of young initiatives, these had been hit really hard by the national lockdown regulations and the fears of tourists, coupled with the fact that tourism had not been seen as an essential service.

 

The Chairperson noted that the document from the Western Cape Province Portfolio Committee on Economic Development and Tourism had indeed been received.

 

Gauteng

 

Ms F Hassan (ANC), Acting Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Economic Development and Tourism, Gauteng, said that the tourism sector had been decimated by COVID-19, but she saw an opportunity from the Legislative Oversight Tourism Forum to rebuild the sector in a way that was far more efficient and useful to not only the lawmakers, but to the public as well.

 

The acceleration of transformation should be at the top of agenda, as well as the training and funding needs being fundamental, so that the sector was not only being transformed but was also giving opportunities to marginalised groups, including young people. As a young person herself, she believed that young people should be put at the forefront, as this could be a huge opportunity to employ, train and upskill them. There should be a further inclusion of marginalised groups, including women, people living with disabilities, and even to a large extent the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual and more (LGBTQIA+) community, which had been historically and currently marginalised and abused, and found it difficult to get jobs in the mainstream economy. This would help break older untransformed patterns of tourism.

 

She also liked the fact that the forum was very similar to the Ministerial MEC meetings, because it forced them to touch base every few quarters, and it was going to solve issues faster. The forum would also help in identifying who needed to do what, and whether there may be a need for national legislation or provincial intervention.

 

The provincial committee had forwarded the requested documents listing the number of townships, villages and small towns to the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA), and were waiting for a response. She apologised for the delay, as they were currently dealing with a change in the chairpersonship in the Province Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

 

Lastly, she said that they had recently conducted a focused intervention study (FIS) on tourism and destination marketing, and as the Gauteng Portfolio Committee they felt that the province was not doing enough to reposition Gauteng as a destination of choice, especially with the focus on township tourism. They were in the process of examining existing strategies and exerting a lot of pressure, which had resulted in the Gauteng Provincial Government, through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, allocating additional funding over the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period.

 

They were also working with the Premier’s Office to review and introduce a new destination marketing and branding strategy for the province. The strategy would take into account the plight of township tourism and how the tourism portfolio in the province could be reconfigured from being biased to established sight-seeing in the sector, to providing opportunities for the smaller people and companies who were providing tourism opportunities. She hoped that in the next quarter, the province would be able to provide feedback on where they were in terms of this particular project, and that Gauteng would be the gateway into the country and would create more job opportunities, especially for young people and women.

 

North West Province

 

Ms B Lenkopane (ANC), Chairperson, Portfolio Committee on Economic Development and Tourism, North West Province, said the Committee had managed to consolidate in terms of profiling. Their approach had been to activate their research staff, including the oversight involving communication with both municipalities and the Department in order to get to each and every corner of the province. As a result, they had established that the province had 678 villages, 107 townships and 37 small towns. These figures had been broken down into districts and municipalities, and within municipalities as to how many villages there were per ward, so they were now zooming into profiling the municipalities through their integrated development plans (IDPs) to check how they planned, because they were interested in getting their plans being informed by the profile of the whole province.

 

The task at hand that was currently in progress was that they had resolved as a Committee how they were going to approach the matter of oversight. They had resolved that the oversight focus in tourism would have to look into oversights per district, and for every programme of the Department, they would have to reflect on how the performance of the Department was being carried out in terms of the statistics. They would have to reflect on everything per district, per municipality, per village, per township and per small town.

 

She referred to how the Department integrated the district development model, and said they had also received a presentation from the Department on their five-year strategic plan as well as their draft annual performance plan (APP), and had influenced the planning department to the extent that it addressed the issues that were related to what the Committee wanted to achieve. They had also had an argument with the Department over understanding the difference between the villages and the rural areas, where there was a vast difference. The North West committee appreciated the initiative to classify the villages from the rural areas, as there were also farms that were in rural areas that were also at the level of economic or commercial farming, yet there were also villages in the same areas where people were not at a stage to be in commercial farming. The province had also concentrated on exploring the COVID-19 opportunities in the tourism sector.

 

Discussion

 

The Chairperson handed over to the Portfolio Committee Members to clarify some issues, specifically on grading in terms of the Committee’s interactions with the Grading Council and what their proposals were.

 

Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) expressed her appreciation of the work of the Portfolio Committee and the provincial legislatures to ensure that their oversight work was done in a collaborative manner and in a way that they could be able to leverage on economies of scale. Combining their resources put them in a greater position to reach further than they would have, had they continued working independently.

 

She said that the Portfolio Committee had interacted with the grading aspects of the tourism value chain to make sure that the basket of goods or the incentives that were around the grading model were enticing enough for establishments to see the value of grading. Grading played an integral part in the tourism value chain, because it spoke to the quality of the tourism product as well as the value for money which the tourist was able to spend. Grading also addressed the value of tourism, because one wanted to buy a product where one could quantify the value, as well as the visitors’ experience.

 

The Chairperson clarified that the point being made about Grading Council issues was that the entire sector had to push for grading to be compulsory, but the grading should not be at a prohibitive cost for those who owned establishments, particularly those who were poor. The discussion between the Portfolio Committee and the Department was such that the White Paper process which the Department was embarking on should, according to the Minister, be concluded by the end of the next financial year.  It had to take into account the recommendations made around the issue of grading, including the criteria used by the Grading Council to grade establishments. He hoped that going forward, the matter would be attended to by the Department, together with the Grading Council.

 

Another matter that had been raised was to ensure that the presence of tourism in every village, township and small town throughout South Africa was based in the context of the district model. The Portfolio Committee agreed with that approach, because the Executive was adopting an approach that was informed by the district model. Within the districts they would look at having their LETOFO at the district, municipal, village, township and small town levels. The Committee and the provinces should agree that the Provinces should be given until the end of July to submit the information relating to the total number of villages, townships and small towns that were there in every province.

 

Mr P Moteka (EFF) expressed his concern about the provinces that had not attended the meeting, as they had also not attended the meeting that was held in December, but commended the provinces which had attended, especially the North West. What they had presented at the meeting showed how seriously they were taking the initiative of the Portfolio Committee. He failed to understand why the provinces which needed this initiative the most seemed not to be taking it seriously, because the main purpose of the Committee was to make sure that the most villages benefited from tourism. He also asked for clarity from the representative from the Western Cape as to why it had not separated the townships from the central activities.

 

Ms M Gomba (ANC) also expressed appreciation for the provinces that attended the meeting, and concern over those that did not attend. The Committee should do a follow up on the provinces that had not attended, as this could grow into a habit of undermining the call by the national Committee. She also expressed her appreciation of the North West Province’s presentation, which had shown that they were profiling tourism establishments and had made sure that they allocated their villages according to districts and were profiling the municipalities in tourism. The cooperation of the North West Province showed that they understood the intentions of the Committee. She said the Western Cape had not elaborated much on the townships and villages, which showed that the interest was not really there for those who were in need of the support of the Committee to ensure that they also grew. She would like to advise all the provinces, including those which did not attend, to make sure that the local municipalities were drafting proper master plans for tourism, because that was where the problem started. If the master plan was not up to standard, it became difficult for the Department of Tourism to assist in terms of funding.

 

Mr D Mitchell (DA), Western Cape Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism, responded to the statements by Mr Moteka and Ms Gomba. He said the presentation by the Western Cape was merely a summary of what had already been submitted to the Portfolio Committee. The 67 townships identified and submitted to the Committee had been identified in alignment with the definition used by the National Treasury Neighbourhood Development Programme, so it was incorrect for the Committee to believe that there was no focus on township or rural tourism in the province.  The City of Cape Town, as a municipality, had a focus on township tourism, as well as on the Western Cape through various stakeholders, in particular Westgro, which was specifically tasked to work with the Western Cape government to do township and rural development in the Province.

 

Mr G Krumbock (DA) raised a question about the nature of the meeting, and asked for clarity on the role of the municipality in the forum. He also asked how matters ought to be taken forward in a situation where all three spheres of government cooperated extensively, but then the recommendations that were formulated with the help of the liaison office of the Department were not implemented.

 

Mr M de Freitas (DA) commented on one of the provincial representatives making a comparison between one province and another, pointing out that the country had nine unique provinces which needed to be looked at without comparing them with others. Some provinces would do better than others in certain aspects because they were different and had different things to offer. As long as all the provinces were working in their different tourism sectors, that was the only thing that mattered because they were not the same. He added that the Committee needed to also include local government in the forum, in order to make sure that it also executed its mandates. As long as the different tiers of governance coordinated throughout the forum, everything should be fine.

 

Mr H Gumbi (DA) said the Committee needed to be clear about grading, because there had been some talk of the average cost of grading per annum being around the region of R4 700 to R5 000.  There was clear agreement by the Portfolio Committee that grading should be free of charge, and it needed to stand firm on that position. The Committee needed to have a clear cut schedule in terms of where the oversight visits were done, as well as where they were in terms of cooperative governance space, to try do get certain things done which would benefit the national, provincial and local governments. They should assume that at this time, local government was in a poor state and the likelihood was that even after these interactions, initiatives would not be implemented.

 

Mr K Sithole (IFP) asked the provinces to provide a list of the tourism activities that were happening in their respective districts, as it could help the Committee to monitor those activities. He also asked them to provide information about the staff capacity in the provinces.

 

Mr M Galo (AIC) suggested that the objectives of the LETOFO should include the establishment of municipal tourism oversight forums at that level, as municipalities were not working on establishing such tourism programmes. He commended the provinces that attended the meeting, and expressed the hope that the Eastern Cape would submit the required documents by Monday.

 

Ms Gomba requested the Portfolio Committee to take the non-attendance of the meetings by some of the provinces seriously. She also suggested that the Committee must be provided with written explanations for why they had not attended.

 

Chairperson: The way forward

 

The Chairperson said that the way forward from the meeting was that the national and provincial Portfolio Committees of Tourism were going to establish the LETOFO, as they agreed that there should be a single national integrated tourism oversight approach throughout the whole country. The information that they expected from the provinces would be according to the district, municipal and local municipal level, and would indicate how many villages, townships, informal settlements and small towns there were.

 

It should not be forgotten that the main focus was to deal with problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment, and how the Executive was dealing with those challenges, particularly in the villages, townships, informal settlements and small towns, without necessarily relegating the big cities that were there. The Portfolio Committee would continue to work with the National House of Traditional Leaders as the people who were the custodians of matters that affect these communities.

 

The provincial chairpersons would go back and convene their Provincial Legislature Tourism Committee meetings and brief them on the forum and documents that had been presented, and how they were going to work together with national and local government levels going forward. To implement the tourism oversight model, the Portfolio Committee would hold the Executive accountable, in line with their decision to adopt the district service delivery model. The Portfolio Committee was going to strengthen its relationship with all the municipalities throughout the country.

 

He said that the matter of Howick had been handed over to the Department and sent to the province and affected municipalities, and as soon as there was progress on that matter, there would be a report.

 

The Committee had looked at all projects in the country, in every province and the municipalities, and would get quarterly reports from the Department. Where a need arose, a municipality could be called to Parliament to account on certain issues, as the Committee worked on the basis of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act.

He said the Portfolio Committee had agreed to a grading council, and hoped that the provinces would agree too that the grading of establishments should be free of charge, as those who were poor and running small establishments could not make the profit that would enable them to pay for the grading process.

 

The Committee would send the dates of the quarterly meetings to the provinces, and continue to remind them.

 

The Chairperson thanked the provinces which had attended, and added that he did not necessarily conclude that those which had not attended were undermining the Committee -- he could arrive at a decision only after getting feedback as to why they had not been able to attend.

 

Committee matters

 

Ms Gomba moved the adoption of the Committee’s minutes, Mr Galo seconded, and they were adopted.

 

The Chairperson handed over to Mr De Freitas to address the Portfolio Committee.

 

Mr De Freitas said that he had tried to get the Chairperson’s attention at the last meeting, but the meeting had ended before he could do so. He had subsequently sent a message to the Chairperson after the meeting, apologising for his emotional response to the Chairperson during the previous meeting.

 

The Chairperson confirmed receipt of Mr De Freitas’ message showing remorse after the meeting, and said he had accepted his apology.

 

Ms Makhubela -Mashele said that since Mr De Freitas had apologised and the Chairperson had accepted the apology, the situation should not be discussed further.

 

Ms Gomba expressed appreciation to Mr De Freitas for owning up to his error and apologising, and said that it showed that he was a responsible leader.

 

The Chairperson said that he had raised the matter relating to the use of Microsoft Teams during the virtual meetings of Parliament with the Authorities in Parliament. He would continue to raise the issue so that the meetings could migrate from Microsoft Teams to Zoom, because Zoom was much easier to use and did not have network issues.

 

The meeting was adjourned.

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