The Portfolio Committee met to consider and discuss its Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report. Particular comments were made on the econometric study regarding tourism advertisement to attract tourists at an ideal spend. There was concern no results were really seen from the study and there ought to be something in the Committee report that this must be speeded up and the Department should start presenting some preliminary findings so that the basis of science is used in the Committee arguing for the budget. Another comment was made on the need for a list of tourism assets the Department considers important to driving the agenda. The Committee should move towards the point of a very specific schedule of assets and schedule for actions for Members and public representatives to monitor at various levels of government. The language in the report should be shifted away from “engage” to something specific around developing an action schedule on a register of assets.
The Committee agreed to adopt the report in principle as Members could made further amendments in writing
Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism
Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Advisor, took Members through the report.
The Chairperson recommended Members make written submissions on any amendments or comments they have on the report.
Ms L Makhubela- Mashele (ANC) agreed – the report could be adopted and Members can make any further suggestions via email. The final draft can be circulated amongst Members again.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) suggested those Members who had already prepared comments or amendments, bring them forth in the meeting. He was concerned that some Members may add amendments which may be controversial and other Members might not agree with and he was not sure how such a situation could then be resolved. It might be best to get the work done now on a consensual basis, as the Committee has always done.
The Chairperson said both can be done – proposals can be made now and Members can make submissions via email.
Mr Krumbock made comments on page 14 and 15 regarding the tourism budget and the initiatives identified by the Committee – the Committee has, over the years, agreed on the need for an econometric study to see the ideal amount for advertising to the point where the increased tourism pays for that budget. It was important to pitch this just right so that there was no overspending or under spending in this regard so that there was the optimal amount of tourists for the amount spent. As a long haul tourist destination in the southern hemisphere aimed at attracting European and North American tourists, SA then has to compete with the budgets of tourist resorts in South America and Australia. While the econometric study was done, no results were really seen other than a pilot study from the Nordic countries to test the model commissioned by the Department. There ought to be something in the Committee report that this must be speeded up and the Department should start presenting some preliminary findings so that the basis of science is used in the Committee arguing for the budget bearing in mind that money cannot be wasted and there cannot be under advertising and then lose out on tourism revenue. This should be reflected in the Committee report for an empirical argument to be made. He hoped Members supported this.
The Chairperson did not see any problem with the proposal from his perspective.
Mr H Gumbi (DA) said the report was very well presented and touched on many of the issues Members discussed in its meetings with the Department and entities. He touched on point 9.2.8 regarding the engagement with the SA Police Service (SAPS) – Members have highlighted the need for a list of tourism assets the Department considers important to driving the agenda. The Committee should move towards the point of a very specific schedule of assets and schedule for actions for Members and public representatives to monitor at various levels of government. The language in the report should be shifted away from “engage” to something specific around developing an action schedule on a register of assets. He volunteered to draft something to insert in the Committee report to drive the sentiment of being more specific.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) felt there should be stronger recommendations on the matter of irregular expenditure as seen with the irregular expenditure on the part of SA Tourism and on the side of the Department. Officials part of the wrongdoing should be suspended, name and shamed and fired. The Committee cannot sing the same song every year. Irregular expenditure equals corruption and fraud. The internal controls of the Department must be monitored and adhered to. The door for corruption has been opened but the Committee cannot allow it to continue. R94m has been lost before due to irregular, unauthorised fruitless and wasteful expenditure and this cannot continue.
The Chairperson said the recommendations do speak to consequence management – it should be intensified and tightened insofar as fruitless, irregular and wasteful expenditure was concerned along with other misdemeanours in the Department.
The Committee would follow the process on the Committee report as agreed to earlier.
Consideration and adoption of Committee minutes
Committee minutes dated 3 November 2020
The minutes were adopted
Committee minutes dated 10 November 2020
The minutes were adopted.
The meeting adjourned.
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