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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS & TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 November 1999
BRIEFING ON THE TOURISM AMENDMENT BILL [B 50-99]
Tourism Guide Policy Process
Dr Bayat and Ms Shareen Parker represented the Department of Environmental Affairs. Ms Parker gave the committee a presentation on the Tourism Guide Policy Process. The Department then read the proposed legislation to the committee. The floor was then opened to questions and points of clarification.
Questions and comments by the members
Ms Olckers (NNP) asked Ms Parker to explain why she feels it is a problem that the present legislation requires guides to be proficient in English. Ms Olckers told the committee that English is a universal language, therefore, guides should be fluent in English. Ms Parker explained to Ms Olckers that this provision goes against the Constitution. In the Constitution there are eleven official languages. Ms Parker added that tourism has to start to cater to the domestic market, and not all South Africans speak English. Ms Olckers explained that she understood Ms Parker's point but she added that English is used throughout the world and no matter where you travel you can receive tours in English. Therefore, she stated, South Africa should expect its guides to speak English. Ms Parker answered that, as it stands, the provision is exclusive not inclusive, in order to increase the access to tour guiding jobs the provision needs to be changed.
The Chairperson, Ms Gwen Mahlangu (ANC) commented that they must start thinking of domestic tourists. In the Western Cape many people speak Afrikaans and Xhosa, rather than English. Therefore, they should be concentrating on hiring guides that can speak Afrikaans, English, or Xhosa before hiring guides who speak French.
Ms Van de Merwe (ANC) asked the Department if the provinces were able to deal with the amount of responsibility given to them. In addition, she asked for clarity on why new guides must renew their qualifications every year while incumbents only have to every three years. Ms Van de Merwe also thought that transformation from the Registrar Authority to the Department was unclear. She felt that they needed to investigate how that was going to take place. Finally, she asked, in light of all of her queries, why they are trying to rush the Bill. Ms Van de Merwe pointed out that there would be another bill similar to the current one coming through and she thought that it would be best to deal with both of them at the same time.
Dr Bayat explained that they made room for a three year transitional period for individuals already in the system. The one year renewal was put in place to keep guides updated and aware of new developments. Dr Bayat explained that there is a sense of urgency because they want to bring new people on board and make the proper transformations in the tourism industry.
Ms Mahlangu told the Department that she was not convinced that the consultation process was as open as it could have been. She said that in the short amount of time used it was not possible to consult all of the necessary people. Ms Mahlangu pointed out that this is a very important piece of legislation. She said that President Mbeki often points out in his speeches that tourism is an important industry for South Africa. Therefore, there needs to be proper public hearings in the provinces in order to involve all the necessary people. Ms Mahlangu questioned whether the committee should continue to deliberate on the legislation if it could not be passed before the end of the session. She pointed out that there are only five more working days left before the Christmas recess.
Another Member agreed with Ms Mahlangu and said that the committee needed to take enough time to do justice to the new legislation. He added that the committee should be given a list of the recommendations made during the consultation process. In addition, he felt that they should be given a clearer idea on what is happening now in the area of tour guiding. The Member was concerned about certain provinces, like his own, Mpumalanga, which has no money for tourism and is suffering from budget cuts. He added that he agreed with what the Bill was trying to do but that the committee needed to spend more time on the Bill. The Chairperson pointed out to the Member that Clause 13 ensures that there will be no added expenses allocated to the provinces.
Ms Ramotsamai (ANC) asked the Department whether the transformation of staff means that staff will be unionised. In addition, she wanted to know what the role of the National Registrar would be. Ms Ramotsamai asked whether there was a time frame set up for registration. Finally, she wondered if the Department had done everything possible to reach all of the interested parties in this Bill.
Before the questioning continued, the Chairperson wanted to clarify if it would be possible to pass this Bill before the Christmas recess. Ms Van de Merwe told the Chairperson that the National Assembly is expected to rise on 19 November 1999 but they may be called back the first week in December if there is any pressing legislation. In addition, she said that it would be next to impossible to find space to debate this bill in the National Assembly in the next two weeks. Ms Van de Merwe told the committee that in addition to these limitations, the bill would not have time to make it through the National Council of Provinces' cycle.
The committee decided to treat the meeting like they had time to put the legislation through so the Department could note their concerns and address them at a later date.
Ms Chalmers (ANC) told the Department that she wanted the issue of training to be clarified. She indicated that she comes from a rural area and in the rural areas it is difficult for individuals to receive proper training to become professional guides. In addition, it can be very expensive to take the qualifying exams. She felt that there needs to be regulations and standards for both training and exams so that they are accessible to as many people as possible.
Ms Semple (ANC) addressed several questions and concerns to the Department including;
(1) In Clause 2, section 20(30)(b), will there be different categories of tour guides?
(2) In Clause 3, will it be necessary to go to the particular province to register?
(3) In Clause 4, section 21A, how will the fees be determined and how much will the fees be?
(4) In Clause 4, section 21A(c) she is concerned that non-South Africans will not have the same knowledge as South African citizens.
(5) In Clause 4, section 21A(7), will there be a different badge for each of the provinces?
(6) In Clause 4, section 21A(8)(b), will individuals have to return to the
appropriate provinces each year to re-register?
(7) In Clause 4, section 21A(9)(c), what will be considered as misconduct? Will the current definitions from the SATOUR Board apply?
(8) In Clause 4, section 21B, there is a need for standardisation since the courses are only taught in private institutions and the exams are very expensive. In addition, there is no standard exam, the questions are always different.
(9) In Clause 4, section 21F(3)(b), the fine is not a sufficient means of punishment.
(10) In Clause 4, section 21H, it is not made clear what happens to individuals who use unregistered tour guides.
(11) In section 7.2 of the Memorandum there needs to be clarification around training.
(12) In section 7.3 of the Memorandum there needs to be a proposed timeframe put in place.
Ms Olckers (NNP) addressed several questions and concerns to the committee. These included:
(1) In Clause 4, section 21F, the same person who dismisses a guide is the same individual who hears the appeal. There should be at least three people on an appeal board.
(2) In Clause 4, section 21A(9)(c), the same problem arises, there is only one individual who hears an appeal.
(3) In Clause 4, section 21E (4)(1), there is not a specific length of suspension.
(4) In Clause 4, section 21G, it is not fair that an individual must pay to give an appeal. The National Registrar is considered a civil servant and should not be paid for hearing appeals.
(5) In Clause 4, section 21H, it is not clear how many people make a qualified tour guide. For example, companies like BMW have individuals take guests around the area, but these people are not considered tour guides. There needs to be clarification on this issue.
(6) In Clause 4, section 21I, who decides what is sufficient reason? This is the same as the problems raised earlier. The power always seems to rest with an individual.
(7) In Clause 4, section 21J, the Director-General has to settle a dispute between the same people that s/he has appointed. This is not a fair approach.
(8) In Clause 6(1) the phrase, "The person, if any, who immediately before the date of commencement of this section occupied the post of Registrar of Tourist Guides in the employment of the board shall,â€¦" should be changed to, "The person, if any, who immediately before the date of commencement of this section occupied the post of Registrar of Tourist Guides in the employment of the board may,â€¦" in order to give the Minister more leeway.
(9) What is the provincial set up in Clause 6(2)?
Another Member asked the Department if it can be made clear to tourists that they can complain about a particular tour guide if they have difficulties. He used the example of taxi drivers who have signs and numbers visible if individuals feel that they want to make a complaint.
Ms Semple asked questions on the behalf of Mr Opperman (DP) who had to leave for another committee meeting. He wanted to know if guides would have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. In addition, he was concerned that there would be flooding of tour guides in some areas and not enough in other areas.
Mr September (ANC) told the committee of an incident recently where a friend of his was asked to use a "non-European" toilet. He wanted to ensure that tour guides are appreciative of the changes taking place in the new South Africa and despite the advances, there are still many challenges. Tour guides need to be able to look after local visitors first. Mr September said that people of colour were unable to get to know their country until now. Ms Semple agreed with Mr September's comments and added that new tour guides should be asked their views on the new South Africa so they do not give false information to international travellers.
The Chairperson said the Department would consider all of their questions and comments. These points will form the agenda for the next meeting. The committee will not rush the Bill, but they realise it is important and will work on it as fast as they can. In addition, there needs to be enough time for public hearings in all of the provinces.
Mr September wanted to know if Ms Van de Merwe's suggestion of considering the two pieces of legislation at the same time was going to be possible. Dr Bayat told the committee that there was no correlation between the two pieces of legislation and it would be best to deal with them separately.
World Heritage Convention Bill
Before closing, the Chairperson reminded the committee that the World Heritage Convention Bill has come back to the National Assembly with amendments, which they will have to consider quickly. They decided to discuss the amendments informally on Wednesday November 10,1999 and finalise them on Friday November 12, 1999. The meeting was adjourned.
These Minutes have been supplied by Contact.
Tourism Guide Policy Process
1. The current SATOUR BOARD (which consists of provincial representatives, together with nominees representing civil society), which was appointed in April 1997 by the previous Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, was delegated its powers by the Tourism Amendment Act of 1996 (to the Tourism Act 1993, No.72 of 1993).
2. It was mandated to restructure and bring the organisation in line with the demands of the new policies, as outlined in the White Paper: the development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa developed in June 1996.
3. Thereafter, the Board reviewed Satour's current role and responsibilities, which included, among others, the Standards Directorate responsible for Tourist guiding.
4. Members of the Satour management, chaired by the Registrar for tourist guides, had initiated and conducted a national audit of the tourist guide registration system and this information was incorporated into the Board overview.
5. These actions were:
· A series of Consultative Workshops (in every province), were conducted (1997) by the Satour management, to analyse the current situation, with regard to: registration, accreditation, monitoring and evaluation, which yielded a wide range of valuable insights and short-comings about the current system. These workshops included principally tourist guides, tour operators; trainers and provincial representatives (departments and authorities)
· Some of the key findings conducted by members of the Board were:
- The Act and regulations were borne out of a different political and social milieu. The process of consultation had been very narrow.
The current Tourism Act 1993 (No. 72 of 1993), and its regulations, in many ways are contradictory to the Constitution, and new legislation. (e.g. latest legislative requirements in Education, Labour, as well as issues central to the Human Rights, Gender Commissions, etc)
- E.g. Wine-tasting certificates became compulsory for all W.C. guides. Fluency in English is the sole language proficiency criteria. Training modules (1995) reads like an old-style text-book (compartmentalised, does not reflect the social/economic/political realities that have shaped the country
- Fails to recognise that there are constituencies within tourism , like trade unions, women, communities, etc with differing needs.
- The current Act has manifested itself by shaping and regulating the tourist guiding fraternity in ways which have created further constraints for disadvantaged individuals. (access, training)
- transformation of the entire tourist guide system was long overdue
· A Board Sub-committee on tourist guiding was established in keeping
with the spirit of the Amendment of November 1996, the composition
reflected a sectoral approach:
- education and training sector
- business (especially tour operators and 5AT5A) tourist guides sector
arts and culture sector
- environmental sector
- additional: provinces (departments/authorities), Field Guides of South Africa, Safety and Security
· A Commission was set up consisting of a representative from: the Satour Board and DEAT (the latter being responsible for the legislative framework for tourist guiding), to make recommendations to the Board:
- met with organisations involved in training (1997)
Those present were. FGASA (field guides); SADTU (teachers union);
SAACI (conference sector); TETASA (travel and tourism); HITB
(hospitality sector), 5AARTG (registered tourist guides) Tourist guide Guild.
- a session of in-progress tourist-guide evaluation was observed in Cape Town. (1997)
- commission provided recommendations to the Board.
6. The Tourist guide commission recommended that:
- additional research (international best practice, etc) was needed to develop policy options
these policy options will then be reviewed by the tourist guide subcommittee before finally being put before the Satour Board.
6. Developing Policy: DEAT agreed to fund and commission a consultant to develop policy options A brief was developed and process put out to tender.
7. The consultant would commence work in January 1998 and produce a final document by 31 March 1998. Paralleling this research, periodic report-backs to the Satour sub-committee took place for comments, inputs, and amendments..
· 8 December 1998: consultants make introductory presentation to the tourist guide sub-committee: focused on overview of brief and study, methodology, gaps to be addressed. All the outputs of the work done by the Satour management team and Board members (consultative workshops and report findings), would be integrated into the research -as well as additional desk-top research.
· 5 February: Presentation of Phase 1 and 2 report to tourist guide sub-committee. Comments, recommendations taken and integrated into next report.
· 5 March: Presentation of Phase 3 report / Consolidated phase 1-3 reports to tourist guide sub-committee. Comments, recommendations taken and integrated into next report.
· 15 March: Copy of updated Phase 3 sent to all Satour Board members and comments invited. Comments, recommendations taken and integrated into next report.
· 16 March: Presentation of Phase 4 report. To tourist guide sub-committee. Comments, recommendations taken and integrated into next report.
· 25 March: Presentation of updated Phase 4 report: to tourist guide sub-committee. Comments, recommendations handed before 30 March.
· 30 March: Satour Board meeting: All Satour Board members given another 2 weeks to hand in comments, recommendations to consultant -Provincial Board representatives urged to make special effort
· 31 March: Final report handed in to the Satour Board and DEAT.
· Copies of final report: handed to every member of sub-committee and provincial committee representatives (departments and authorities)
· 16 April: Satour Board members hand in final comments or changes of final report to consultant.
8. Satour Board accepts key recommendations and forwards the recommendations to DEAT. Together with the legal department at DEAT, These recommendations have been transformed into a draft bill.
· Shifting policy function from SATOUR to DEAT
· A new Act (i.e. an amendment ) governing this sub-sector (in keeping with the requirements of new, current Acts: LRA - labour1 NQF - education gender, etc)
· Provinces: Devolution of some key responsibilities. More proactive role, linking development functions to tourist guiding (balancing urban/rural demographics; gender; reviewing current narratives1 integrating local community histories into broader themes)
· Easier access: categories must not financially burden entrants, recognition of prior learning1 etc
· Addressing issues of job creation, specifically among disadvantaged communities - into the mainstream activities of tourism
· Charting career-paths using Tourist Guiding: becoming a profession; ability to move horizontally - vertically into other tourism sectors e.g. the museum sector
· Through the SAQA guidelines: the broad cross-section of constituencies will enrich the whole training aspect. (there are 6 categories laid down by SAQA)
· development of new regulations governing tourist guiding - opportunity to review and develop regulations which are appropriate in today's circumstances.
9. Presentations have been made to the Mintech1 MinMec and TTAC (Tourism Training Advisory Committee) committees.
10. The Standards Generating Process: together with the assistance of Provincial tourism departments and authorities, 9 provincial workshops have been conducted: to familiarise provinces about the SAQA (South African Qualifications Authorities) guidelines; to establish provincial (interim) working groups; to alert sectors about future national SGB structure and its function.
11. Developing new Regulations: Provincial Working groups have been requested to review current regulations and make submissions before 15 November.
12. Establishment of the Tourism SETA: Satour has been represented at the TTAC committee which has endorsed the process for application for registration as a SETA (of which tourist guiding will become one chamber).
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