In a virtual meeting the Committee was briefed by the South African Tourism (SAT) on its Annual Performance Plan.
Members heard the SAT’s budget has been restored to 2019 levels. The SAT’s approved total budget for the current financial year is R1.4 billion. The budgeted revenue is funded mainly from the five income streams with just over R1.2 billion being transferred from the Department of Tourism. R50 million is funded from Tourism Marketing South Africa (TOMSA) levies. R33.5 million is funded from exhibition income, with SAT’s biggest contributor being the planned hybrid Indaba and the Meetings Africa exhibition. Just over R10 million is funded from grading fees. The last revenue stream is R24.8 million, which is mainly linked to investment income. The largest income stream comes from the Department of Tourism which totals approximately 91% of the SAT’s total budget.
The SAT had 42 key performance indicators (KPIs) across five programmes. A new KPI was introduced in Programme 2 namely the “SA Tourism Reputation Index”. A new KPI was also introduced in Programme 5, namely “Net Promoter Score improvement plan implemented”; it was introduced to make sure that both people travelling from outside the country and domestically have a positive experience of tourism activity. A relatively new KPI is “Number of national business events hosted in villages, towns and small dorpies (VTSDs)”; the promotion of tourism activities in VTSDs has been a priority of the Committee for a significant period of time.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism noted the complex context in which SAT would be presenting their plan which was due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members asked about planned future meetings and if the board had a plan to host a hybrid meeting or had there been any engagement to solicit support from the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) on the broadband of rollout plans; was there any support that will be given from the sister department, which is DCDT; how will recovery objectives be met without the financial support of such a plan, i.e. a plan that is geared towards the recovering the tourism sector; ‘Are there any partnerships locally and internationally to assist the SAT in the work of promoting the country because the SAT will not be able to do it on its own with limited resources and budget and what is the entity doing to look for cheaper means of testing so that when people are going into a conference they can converge, have their rapid test, and the results will come out’.
Members appreciated the briefing from SAT especially with regard to the recruitment process of the new CEO, and the extension of the Office of the Board as outlined by the Minister and also the outline of the process of recruitment by the Chairperson of the Board. Members were mildly disappointed to hear that throughout the world, the new COVID-19 variant that was discovered in South Africa and some other parts of the world is now called the South African variant. The Committee requested that there should be a repackaging where the entity works with the Department of Health (DoH) and other stakeholders in putting forth a positive message and dispelling the myth that this is a South African variant.
The Committee wanted to hear the view of the SAT CEO regarding the increasingly standardised tourism protocol where people are able to enter into a country provided that they have proof of a vaccination and whether they would agree that South Africa should go that route. Members asked whether the Department, SAT or the Ministry was still committed to the target of bringing in 21 million additional tourist arrivals by 2030 under the current situation of COVID-19 with lockdowns and their negative impact. If not then what was being planned as a strategy to deliver on that commitment.
The Committee commented that South Africa has to aggressively market itself and get back on track in trying to get to where it was before. The GDP of South Africa must be uplifted by tourism. The Committee wants to see GDP receiving a contribution from tourism and be uplifted by the same
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson welcomed the Chairperson of the South African Tourism (SAT), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and the collective of the Members of the Board. The Portfolio Committee (PC) appreciated the SAT’s commitment to the work of Government. The Committee’s responsibility, through the Board, is to do everything possible to make sure that it uses every opportunity at its disposal to grow the economy, to create jobs and to end inequality.
He requested that Ms M Gomba (ANC) chair the meeting because he was not in a good space network connectivity-wise, but he would do his best to continue to be part of the meeting.
The Minister of the Department of Tourism (DT), Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said that she would allow the Deputy Minister to lead, and she would come in again later.
The Deputy Minister’s Opening Remarks
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Amos Fish Mahlalela, said that the SAT was presenting this Annual Report (APP) which was very complex globally. The SAT would be presenting its Annual Performance Plan (APP) under the conditions that are very complex in terms of the development globally, which has been presented by the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. As we all know, COVID-19 has had a serious and devastating impact on the tourism sector, which affected both the global and a local market in the tourism sector with many businesses unable to operate, some of them struggling to survive due to the devastating impact of the of the virus. The same report of the SAT is premised on the economic reconstruction and recovery plan (ERRP), of which key amongst the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is the whole question of the pillars that the ERRP is anchored upon. Arising from the ERRP, as the Department reflected in the Portfolio Committee meeting in the Department APP yesterday, was the development of the tourism sector recovery plan. The plan includes some of the key strategic interventions of which key amongst the strategic intervention is the stimulation of the domestic market, so that the Department came up with targeted initiatives for the local market. The Department was engaged in various initiatives and campaigns to activate the domestic market. One of the strategic interventions is strengthening the supply through resource mobilisation and investment facilitation as part of making sure that the Department attracts investors into South Africa. The other intervention is support for the protection of the core infrastructure and assets. The assets that South Africa has needs to be protected, preserved, and supported so that they do not collapse at the end. Therefore, these are some of the issues that the Department is looking at as part of the SAT’s mandate, in terms of marketing South Africa and also making sure that there are activations of the domestic market. There are various activities that the plan begins to identify. As part of the plan, the market has been put into various categories of which some are listed to identify the categories that will be targeted, what the countries are that South African markets will be focusing on. Even if there is not much international work that is taking place, South Africa will be able to make sure that it remains on the map as a country. This APP is being presented under a different environment. As Members know, last year, the Department had a substantial cut from the SAT. But this year, the money that was cut last year was brought back. The Department has the huge challenge of the negative image that is always projected in the international market about the country, especially arising from the variant that is now called the “South African variant”, and other impediments that exist as a result of the way society behaves and conducts itself. Those are some of the negative tendencies which the Department has to work very hard to make sure that it changes the wrong perceptions about South Africa. It is a mammoth task that the SAT has to engage with to make sure that the matter is addressed.
The Minister will then update the Committee on the process around the board. The board’s term of office did expire, and there was a process to reappoint a new board. Subsequently a decision was taken to extend the existing board. The Minister will be able to explain what the way forward is. There was a proposal from Cabinet that there is a need to match some of the agencies, of which SAT seems to be the one amongst those that needs to be looked into, specifically on the possibility of matching it with other entities, so that it has a coherent approach in terms of how to make South Africa as a Government.
There was an advert for the position of CEO. The analysis of the Committee said that it wanted to understand the progress. The Minister would also be able to brief the Committee about progress thus far, so that the Committee understands where the Department stands on these matters. One of the key business initiatives that the Department is engaged in is meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE), which are one of the hardest hit thus far because of the limitations in terms of meetings and all other related matters. But the team has adopted the new normal in terms of how to make sure that while it is unable to meet in big numbers, it still continues with some of the of activities that should take place, so that it is able to make sure that it prepares itself as it promised to the Committee last year. It promised that it will be working with the national associations to make sure that it builds capacity in small towns to be able to host some of the future conferences. There is progress and the Department is still going to pursue the matter, so that by the time the sector is fully operational in terms of the market being open, it will be able to make sure that South Africa hosts some of the events and meetings throughout the provinces in small towns and villages.
Ms Gomba, as the Acting Chairperson, asked the Minister if there was anything that she wanted to say.
Minister’s Opening Remarks
There were a few issues that the DM asked the Minister to address.
The Minister said she would deal with the board issue first. The Department has extended the current board; it had advertised and when it advertised as the process was proceeding, Members would remember that the Department briefed the Committee that it has been a decision around the repurposing of state owned entities so that it avoids duplication. Sometimes, Government spends a lot of money in areas where it could be consolidating. In the process when the Department wanted to go to Cabinet to appoint a new board, it was advised by Cabinet to say it is best to extend the current board, which indeed, the Department agreed that it extend the current board for a year, so that it can manage the transition. The current board, as indicated by Cabinet has been extended to oversee the transition in terms of firstly, the major reconfiguration of the entities that are responsible for marketing. The Minister could confirm that the two entities that the Department has started have done a lot of work and quite good progress have been made between the SAT and Brand SA as the first initial process. It is almost done; the Department is ready to go to Cabinet with proposals. The Minister has expressed her view in terms of what it wants to see happen, communicating with the Acting Minister in the Presidency, who is responsible for Brand SA. The Department would request the President first to concur, and then would be able to take that into Cabinet as a decision. So once that process has been announced, the Department would be able to go through and announce the procedure in terms of what is going to happen. Firstly, the Department will have a transitional period. Secondly, there is a stabilisation period because there are acts that are involved that would need to be looked into and there is legislation and the legal environment that needs to be dealt with so that the Department is able to respond to those. So that is critical for the Department, that it is able to deal with that and be able to respond in detail. With the processes around the CEO, the board, the Department will deal with that because it is within the purview of the board; the board will be able to give the Portfolio Committee an update in terms of stabilisation within that, while the Departments continues to do its work as the tourism portfolio and the work that it needs to do.
SA Tourism Annual Performance Plan 2021/22
Mr Siyabonga Dube, Chairperson of the Board: SAT, made remarks. He gave an update on the appointment of the CEO. That process is governed by Section 24 of the Tourism Act in terms of what it requires the board to do in concurrence with the Minister. The term of the current CEO ends at the end of September, so the recruitment advert went out in February to close on 12 March. For reasons of managing the issues of potential conflict, SAT could not run the process internally in terms of its human resources (HR) team here. It had to get on board the external independent recruitment agency or specialists that were going to assist with those advertised job profiles, response handling, and initial pre-screening of all responses that were received. On average, SAT received close to 200 applications; the team then went painstakingly through each and every application to eventually come with a shortlist of potential candidates that could be interviewed by the Board Committee as a first round of interviews. SAT has just received that report last week Friday and the board approved the list that was submitted and now the processes of interviews will then begin in earnest, which is accompanied by all the necessary processes of psychometric testing, verification of qualifications, as well as all other vetting requirements before SAT can come with a candidate. Only after this will it then hand over the process to the Minister for concurrence once a potential candidate had been arrived at. Other than that, SAT still has about five months to go before the end of the term. That is why it started early so that it is not found wanting as the time comes close to the end, as if it is not aware that the contract was coming to an end. Beyond that, it will be to introduce the Executive Committee (EXCO) team, which will then be going into the detailed presentation, because as the DM has said, it is grounded in the sector recovery plan in the main in terms of what interventions SAT will be planning to undertake in the ensuing financial year with a view of aiding the sector to recover or to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 devastation. As the plan unfolds with the implementation, SAT is alive to the dynamics that keeps on changing with COVID-19 as it progresses. Yesterday, one learned that there is a cargo ship from India that is currently quarantined in Durban. So those are the dynamics of the environment within which SAT operates, but to the best of its abilities, as it focuses on the domestic market, to be the one that helps South Africa in the interim as well as the regional markets as already reported on and proposed since last year when South Africa was starting to deal with day-to-day impacts of the COVID-19. SAT is in the process of implementing those processes towards the recovery plan that has since been formally adopted by Cabinet.
The team is led by Mr Sisa Ntshona, CEO: SAT, and he would also take a moment to introduce the EXCO members in the meeting.
Mr Ntshona said that he was accompanied by the EXCO team, and the Members will be able to hear from them in the question and answer segment.
Mr Ntshona noted that the strategic focus of the APP was covered by the DM.
Institutional Policies & Strategies
(See the presentation for the full details.)
Marketing and Investment Framework
This framework focused on identifying markets, optimising marketing investments, and distributing resources to help meet the set objectives.
24 markets were identified and segmented into 16 “Growth” and eight “Defend” markets, with a set of markets earmarked as the ‘Watchlist’. The growth markets are those that hold considerable outbound potential and provide an ample opportunity to grow based on their size. The defend markets hold a substantial market share and require continued intervention to ensure arrivals. They hold both volume and value importance for SA and thus SA Tourism needs to maintain or defend the country’s share of these markets.
Considering the impact of COVID-19, the relative priority of each of the 24 markets is considered in conjunction with dynamic and up to date information of variables that will affect the likelihood of travel from each market.
External Situational Analysis
(See page eight for the full details.)
Mr Ntshona noted that a lot is out of SAT’s control, such as policy decisions by SAT’s source countries and travel advisories. One of the most traded routes internationally has always been London and South Africa. There is no direct route between London and South Africa. It is even difficult to go via the Middle East. A recent example is where one had to travel from South Africa, to Doha, to Greece, then ultimately to London. That give a sense of how disconnected the world is at the moment.
The Road to Recovery
(See pages nine to ten for the full details and graphical representation.)
Domestic travel is currently the “bread and butter” of the foreseeable future; that is the only area that is green (meaning “travel likely”) on the graphical representation (page 10). It is an area within SAT’s control, and has very minimal restrictions. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) space, including the land borders is also shown as green.
Fy21/22 Annual Performance Plan Programmes
There are 42 key performance indicators (KPIs) in five programmes:
- Programme 1: Corporate Support
- Programme 2: Business Enablement
- Programme 3: Leisure Tourism Marketing
- Programme 4: Business Events
- Programme 5: Tourist Experience
Programme 1: Output Indicators & Annual Targets
The output indicators were as follows.
• Percentage implementation of valid internal and external audit recommendations
• Payment of compliant invoices within 30 days from date of receipt
• Identified business processes automated
• Staff engagement score
• Implementation of Employment Equity Plan:
- Percentage of women in South African Tourism
- Percentage of women in senior and top management positions
- Percentage of people with disabilities employed
- Maintain at least 60% Black people (Africans, Coloureds and Indians) across all occupational levels
Programme 2: Output Indicators & Annual Targets
The output indicators were as follows.
• Percentage of approved MOUs with provinces implemented
• Business-to-business (B2B) and Business-to-customer (B2C) portal supported
• SA Tourism Reputation Index (a new KPI)
• Number of reports assessing performance of tourism sector produced
• Number of sector engagements
Programme 3: Output Indicators & Annual Targets
The output indicators were as follows.
• Number of international tourist arrivals
• Number of regional tourist arrivals
• Number of domestic holiday trips
• Rand value of domestic holiday direct spend
• Number of day trips
• Brand strength index (leisure)
• Number of domestic deal-driven campaigns implemented (those that are deliberate around driving specific activity into the country)
• Number of digital engagements - domestic
• New regional brand campaign implemented
• Number of digital engagements - regional
• Global tourism brand campaign implemented
• Tourism activation at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai [unclear if year is 2020 00:42:55]
Mr Ntshona added that due to fewer international arrivals, SAT has harnessed itself around the SADC space in terms of tourist arrivals. The risk is that things could change if South Africa goes into a third or fourth wave of COVID-19. Other parts of the world starting to have bigger lockdowns have had an impact as well. SAT deliberately segmented the tourist arrivals indicators into the categories of domestic, regional and international.
Programme 4: Output Indicators & Annual Targets
The output indicators were as follows.
• Business Events brand strength index
• Global business events campaign implemented
• Domestic business events campaign implemented
• Number of bid submissions
• Number of national business events hosted in villages, townships and small dorpies (VTSDs)
• Indaba and Meetings Africa hosted
• Lilizela Awards hosted
Programme 5: Output Indicators & Annual Targets
The output indicators were as follows.
• Net Promoter Score improvement plan implemented
• Number of graded establishments
• Enterprise and supplier development (E&SD) programme implemented
• Percentage of total seats at SA Tourism tradeshow platforms dedicated for small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) participants
• Basic Quality Verification programme to support new accommodation entrants implemented
• Percentage of qualifying expenditure achieved on procurement from B-BBEE contributor status levels 1-5
• Minimum percentage expenditure achieved on procurement of goods and services from targeted groups
Mr H April (ANC) asked to be recognised. He suggested that the presenter close his video, since it might help with bandwidth.
Mr Ntshona added that the “Net Promoter Score improvement plan implemented” is a new KPI introduced to make sure that both people travelling from outside the country and domestically have a positive experience of tourism activity. This also allows SAT to ensure that the quality assurance programme is held in place, and is also supporting the activities and implementation that is happening. This will be introduced in quarter two, and will start to build a platform that allows SAT to measure it on a regular basis.
Mr Ntshona emphasised the importance of the annual target “25% of total seats at SA Tourism tradeshow platforms dedicated for SMME participants” (under the indicator “Percentage of total seats at SA Tourism tradeshow platforms dedicated for SMME participants”).
Ms Nombulelo Guliwe, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), SAT, presented the financial section.
Consolidated Financial Plan and 2021/22 MTEF Budget Estimates
Projected Revenue for 2021/22 MTEF
SAT’s approved total budget for the current financial year is R1.4 billion. The budgeted revenue is funded mainly from the five income streams as shown on page 21, with just over R1.2 billion being transferred from the Department of Tourism. R50 million is funded from Tourism Marketing South Africa (TOMSA) levies. R33.5 million is funded from exhibition income, with SAT’s biggest contributor being the planned hybrid Indaba and Meetings Africa exhibition. Just over R10 million is funded from grading fees. The last revenue stream is R24.8 million, which is mainly linked to investment income.
Total Budget Allocation
(See page 23 for a graphical representation.)
The largest income stream comes from the Department of Tourism, which totals approximately 91% of SAT’s total budget.
Projected Expenditure for 2021/22 MTEF
Out of a total budget of R1.4 billion, an amount of R126 million has been allocated to Programme 1 (Corporate Support). Programme 2 (Business Enablement) has been allocated R84.9 million. Programme 3 (Leisure Tourism Marketing), which is SAT’s biggest line item from an investment perspective, has been allocated just over R1 billion. This equates to 72% of SAT’s total approved budget. Programme 4 (Business Events) has been allocated R126 million. Programme 5 (Tourist Experience) has been allocated R65 million.
Budget Allocation Per Programme
(See page 24 for a graphical representation.)
The biggest line item is Programme 3 (Leisure Tourism Marketing).
Programme 1: Economic Classification
An investment of R126 million for the financial year was made. It was mainly to drive the following in the goods and services line item: Effective support services, strategy development, and integration (including business performance monitoring and evaluation activities). Part of the R60 million (for goods and services), as well as the depreciation line item of R12 million relates to SAT’s investment in infrastructure, especially the information and communication technology (ICT) space. That is with the objective of automating critical business processes. R54 million has been allocated to employee costs.
Programme 2: Economic Classification
There is a total investment of R84 million, with a total employee cost of R16.4 million (if rounded off). For goods and services, there is a financial resource allocation of R68.6 million. This is mainly for activities that have to do with data analytics and insights, which are aimed at providing centralised tourism intelligence to support intelligence-based decision-making.
Programme 3: Economic Classification
This programme has been allocated the bulk of SAT’s total approved budget for the financial year. This is in line with the broader SAT strategic focus on domestic, regional and selects global markets, so that SAT can create demands in those markets. From a line item investment perspective, SAT has projected R120 million budget for employee costs. The second line item is goods and services which is aimed at demand creation activities, and which is just over R890 million. The line item depreciation mostly talks to in-country assets that SAT would buy; that line item is R3.2 million.
Programme 4: Economic Classification
This programme is SAT’s business events programme, which is responsible for growing South Africa’s business events industry. It has been allocated a total of R126 million. R14.5 million has been allocated to employee costs. The balance is goods and services, which has been allocated to fund activities aimed at developing leads for future business events, in order to ensure that South Africa can bid for suitable events to be hosted. This also funds business development activities in order to maintain South Africa’s position as the number one business events destination in Africa and the Middle East.
Programme 5: Economic Classification
This programme has been allocated an investment of R65 million. Employee costs are R19 million. Goods and services are R45.9 million, for activities that are aimed at improving visitor experience for international and domestic tourists.
Mr Ntshona said that that concludes the presentation. He handed back to the SAT Chairperson, Mr Dube. Mr Dube said that SAT had presented its APP, and was preparing to take any questions that Members may have.
Ms P Mpushe (ANC) said that she welcomed the presentation with a view of applauding the Department for its audit outcomes. She asked about planned future meetings – does the board have a plan to host a hybrid meeting of such magnitude, or has there been any engagement to solicit support from the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) on the broadband rollout plans given that data is too expensive.’ Is there any support that will be given from the sister department, which is DCDT’? She applauded the board on the recovery plan, and she wished SAT an effective implementation of the plan. She also applauded the Department on its plan to continue meeting the targets on the 30-day payment window for service providers.
Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) wanted to appreciate the briefing from SAT, with regard to the recruitment process of the new CEO and the extension of the Office of the Board as outlined by the Minister, and also the outline of the process of recruitment by the Chairperson of the Board. The Committee now knows where the process is. In the Committee’s last engagement with SAT, it requested that the CEO and the entity must repackage the messaging of South Africa with regard to the variant. Throughout the world, the new COVID-19 variant that was discovered in South Africa and some other parts of the world is now called the South African variant. The PC requested that there should be a repackaging where the entity works with the Department of Health (DoH) and other stakeholders in putting forth a positive message and dispelling the myth that this is a South African variant. All have seen how COVID-19 has mutated and has had variants elsewhere Brazil and India have their own variants for example. The one in South Africa has been negatively publicised. She wanted to find out about the repackaging of the message because she did not get it through the presentation. She apologised if it had been covered extensively, because she was struggling with connectivity. She understood that SAT’s APP was currently centred around the tourism sector recovery plan (TSRP) which is also linked to the broader macro policy objectives of the country and its recovery plan as outlined and presented by the President i.e. the Reconstruction and Development Plan that would be employed by Government to recover in the aftermath of COVID-19. The APP is centred on the TSRP but there have been budget cuts. ‘How will these recovery objectives be met without the financial support of such a plan, i.e. a plan that is geared towards the recovering the tourism sector’?
On conferencing and meetings the DM said in his introductory remarks that the MICE sector is the hardest hit because people cannot converge in numbers due to COVID-19 still being a reality. One has seen how different companies are introducing the travel passport and testing that would be done to enable the traveller to go to meetings and for people to converge in numbers. The impediment to this is the fact that testing is still expensive. Rapid tests are still expensive. ‘What is the entity doing to mitigate against this’? ‘Additionally, what is it doing to look for a cheaper means of testing so that when people are going into a conference, they can converge, have their rapid test, and the results come out. This will enable the MICE sector to start working again’.
Mr H Gumbi (DA) said that a lot of questions he had were more appropriately directed to the Department and the PC had the opportunity to do so yesterday (4 May 2021). He wanted to hear the view of the SAT CEO regarding the increasingly standardised tourism protocol where people are able to enter a country provided that they have proof of a vaccination, and whether he would agree that South Africa should go that route. He wanted to get that view from SAT, because it only makes sense in South Africa’s own efforts to begin getting in tourists. Some countries, for example those more advanced in their vaccination programmes, have started to bring in tourists and vaccinate them. South Africa might not have that capacity. “But should we not be allowing those who have had a vaccination who are COVID-19-free, into the country?”
Mr April said that he had been covered by the Chairperson.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) asked: As the CEO said South Africa has to aggressively market itself and get back on track in trying to get to where it was before. South Africa cannot do this on its own. ‘Are there any partnerships locally and internationally to assist SAT in the work of promoting the country’? SAT will not be able to do it on its own with limited resources and budget. He asked if the CEO could tell the PC more and unpack it.
Ms S Xego (ANC) appreciated the presentation from SAT but there were some things she wanted to clarify. Under Programme 1 output 2.1, the presentation did not reflect on targets for quarters one to three, whereas in quarter four the target is 100% implementation. She was not saying that is wrong. She just wanted to ask if SAT will be able to obtain 100% if it does not gauge itself on the previous quarters. This is unlike what is reflected in output 2.4 where the target is 60% under “Human Resource Management and Development”; SAT is saying that in quarter one it wants to maintain 60% which is its target. That 60% is consistently reflecting in all of the quarters, so by the end of the term, SAT can reflect on the 60% target, which is an annual target. She asked whether the Department, SAT or the Ministry is still committed to the target of bringing in 21 million additional tourist arrivals by 2030 under the current situation of COVID-19 lockdowns with its negative impact. If yes, that is good. If no, what is being planned as a strategy to deliver according to that commitment? During the past and present situation, travelling is associated with high risk which results in most people having a fear to travel. ‘What is the plan, such that marketing which is SAT’s core business, yields positive results’ The Committee believes in value for money. The money spent in marketing must yield positive results. ‘Given the case in the Durban port where cargo from India was suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, is it not time to approach the Command Council regarding the workers in those ports being considered as frontline workers’? She also suggested that those working in airports, because of the high movement there be prioritised in the vaccination programme. Now many people are going digital and all sectors are advancing in technology including tourism. ‘What impact does that have in SAT’s projections’? Because people are going digital, South Africa will not host big conferences in the near future because of the pandemic. ‘Is technology and going digital not threatening the tourism industry’? The PC is now holding a meeting virtually. It is able to meet deliberate and take resolutions? ‘What are SAT’s plans in light of the situation’? On the budget Ms Xego was glad that the amount taken away from SAT’s allocation is back for the financial year 2021/22.
Ms H Winkler (DA) said that there was mention of quality control as one of the KPIs that was going to be implemented in the second quarter. ‘As part of the quality control of tourism businesses, is one of the measurables going to be how eco-friendly and aligned to responsible tourism these establishments are since that is the direction that the Department wants to push the industry into’? That is the way that the world is going; those are the trends towards more green tourism and being more sustainable. There was mention of a budget to improve visitor experiences: ‘What does this entail’? In a previous meeting, the PC had engagement with SAT, the Department and other stakeholders such as the banking sector and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) which looked at payment holidays, rates holidays etcetera to assist domestic tourism and establishments that have had 10% occupancy and cannot afford to keep up with these payments and are going to become insolvent, should they not get assistance from the other sectors’?. ‘Have these engagements taken place, what has transpired since then, and if not when will the engagements happen’?
The Acting Chairperson noted that the Department presented on a KPI that will be in the third quarter of the year towards the end of financial year. Her worry is that VTSDs are being addressed at that time including the Lilizela Awards; what is it that will be introduced’? SAT’s new KPI that it has introduced includes the VTSDs’ experience of tourism and activities in those areas. ‘Can SAT unpack what its planned activities are in those areas’? When putting that at the third quarter, others are pushed back which affects VTSDs because it is nearly to the last part of the term. SAT would be pushing priorities to the last part of the term. The GDP of South Africa must be uplifted by tourism. The PC has not heard anything about that and the approach towards that. If SAT is putting something in the third quarter of the year, one may find that other things which were pushed back at the beginning of the term are now overtaking the KPIs of the correct term, which must be taking place in that term, which will now affect the VTSDs because it is in the near-last part of the term. It now means that priorities are now being pushed to the very last part of the term. The PC wants to see the gross domestic product (GDP) receiving a contribution from tourism. The GDP of the country must be uplifted by the same tourism. There was a concern that the VTSDs were being pushed to the third quarter when this has been a priority of the Committee. The Acting Chairperson also asked a question on quality assurance which was about what the PC requested; it wishes to see the Tourism Grading Council being allowed to make grading free for those who want to come up to do grading. The Acting Chairperson heard something in the presentation that was not along the lines of talking about free grading. It seemed that the Department did not really consider that and there was no explanation to the Committee as to why it is not happening and why there was no free grading consideration.
Mr Dube said that there are questions that relate to the details on the programmes which will be handled by the respective EXCO members and the CEO.
Mr Dube responded to Ms Mpushe’s question on the hybrid nature of the events that SAT is trying to do. It is the first pilot phase of trying hybrid events, such as Meetings Africa and the Indaba. There are plans in place for how it will pan out, but SAT has not run a similar programme before in a hybrid format. It does have learnings from what has happened abroad and there was a consultation with the industry on how those events could pan out. Such plans are meant to demonstrate to the MICE sector how it could still try to have such events but within the ambit of COVID-19 protocols. What the plans are meant to do, similar to traditional programmes, is to let the core market trade partners and partners in Africa, to come to South Africa and engage with products so that such entities can assist in planning the activities for the travellers that will be coming to the country. From a hybrid perspective, in addition to those that are allowed to be physically present, it will still allow those abroad to still have access to the event. In addition to still achieving the core objective, it will also assist in reminding the core market that SAT is still in existence and it still wants to be top of mind. That is the whole objective around the plans for hybrid events.
On the engagement with the DCDT on issues of data cost: that has not happened, predominantly on the basis that these events have mainly targeted the international audience that had access to the country physically in the past; SAT is now trying to combine both. From that perspective, SAT did not anticipate the core target being mainly the domestic market that engaged with it in terms of these particular events. There are other events that are geared towards the domestic market.
Mr Dube addressed the issue of travel, passports, and testing as a means of allowing travellers to travel freely, on account that they have been engaged with these activities. The issue there is mainly around the costing of that. SAT has been looking at potential solutions in terms of getting or trying to understand which other provider of solutions might be out there in markets; SAT can only address the issue of costing if there are a number of suppliers that are doing that service. That work is ongoing; as and when SAT gets to the close of what the solution that will work for the country looks like, SAT will engage with the PC accordingly.
On partnerships: The Chief Marketing Officer would address Mr De Freitas’ question, but Mr Dube added that this falls within the marketing team, and the Chief Marketing Officer was present in the meeting. He would also add to that response.
Mr Dube responded to Ms Xego’s question. He said that the main one was around contingency planning in terms of COVID-19; for example what if SAT’s best plans are disturbed by events of what might be happening with COVID-19. SAT acknowledges and appreciates the fact that the COVID-19 environment will always throw a spanner in the works, whether domestically or in core markets which then affect the movement of people. Thus, at least for this year, the key focus of the plan with activities is to drive the domestic market. At least there is some “localised control”, even if from a country perspective people are still travelling or behaving in a manner that still observes protocols; in the main, the progression of the pandemic will be in South Africa’s control so SAT expects that there will still be travelling domestically. This will be fuelled by all sectors of the South African population; that is why that becomes the key focus. The condition planning is therefore aligned to that aspect of the diversification of SAT’s travelling market.
Ms Guliwe addressed Ms Makhubela-Mashele’s question on funding, financial resources, and limited budget for the current financial year and over the MTEF and how SAT plans to expend that. One of the key projects in the current financial year is a financial modelling project with the main objective of growing SAT’s revenue base to fund recovery initiatives. In addition, as an immediate focus, SAT has (despite a limited budget) as one of goals that it took through planning to prioritise investment in domestic tourism because it will lead recovery. Then, regional tourism; there is only limited investment in select international markets to focus on brand work. As well as a supplement to enhance financial resources that are available and stretching existing resources, there is an increased focus in the APP, as well as certain divisional plans in certain areas on partnerships. SAT has identified partnerships so as to supplement currently available financial resources.
Mr Yoland Kona, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), SAT, addressed the question on the brand, and SAT being very careful about how it invests so as to get the maximum yield for the marketing investment that it puts in. The way SAT approaches this is that 2021 is the year of the brand, and SAT has to make sure that the brand of South Africa stays top of mind in all of its source markets and that it enhances the brand equity both domestically (especially on the African continent) and internationally.
The big deliverable in the APP is to do global brand work, so that SAT is able to sharpen the personality of the brand. This work would also enable SAT to create something very memorable, so that when the markets opens up SAT has forward momentum in order for it to convert that demand. A lot of people are spending time in from of the TV on YouTube, on social media, consuming nonlinear content about destinations and about what is happening around the world. It is very important that as SAT builds this brand campaign and as it plans its partnerships, that it does so in a way that it is able to take SAT’s South African identity into spaces that are not inside the traditional media spaces. That is the approach SAT is taking around its global brand in order to make sure that the investment is against the brand, and that it is not necessarily put directly against conversions where the markets are closed.
On VTSDs: SAT has fully-signed MOUs with all the provincial tourism authorities which then enable SAT to work through them into each of the localities. SAT did so at the end of last year and in the first quarter of this year, working with the provincial tourism authorities, going to VTSDs; that report will be coming to the Committee in due course. He assured that this will continue to happen going forward. Although the target may be reflected in the third quarter, the work is ongoing. For example, last week, the DM and the CEO were in Mpumalanga running an SMME workshop in order to activate the SMME base there.
On partnerships: There are two broad categories of partnerships that SAT is pursuing. One is channel partnerships which enable SAT to build and maintain all of its channel relationships. In the markets where it is able to convert that it continues to do so. In the markets that are closed it keep those relationships going, so that when the markets open up, SAT can move with speed. Those channel partnerships were built into the plan. SAT also has partnerships centred on enhancing the personality of the brand. For example, SAT had the partnership which builds content around entertainment. It allows SAT to influence when productions are being made in South Africa that enhance its esteem and enhances its appeal.
Mr Kona wanted to highlight the Dubai Expo which is a big deliverable. It is the biggest global event that is happening in the United Arab Emirates. Countries have already been building up to this for the last four years. South Africa needs to get forward momentum around this; SAT has been working with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) colleagues and other stakeholders and it will continue to do so to deliver against this platform.
Ms Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer, SAT, said virtual does have an impact, but what SAT is also doing with the industry is to make sure that it has packages ready to bring people back and to entice them to have those face-to-face meetings. What really helps SAT is the long-term bidding for 2023 and 2024. SAT hopes that by that time the world is back to some part of normality.
On VTSDs: SAT identified three small dorpies with provincial tourism authorities in each province that it wants to develop. SAT likes to develop; it makes sure that these areas can host, and for SAT to test this and start to activate it, its target is to have a meeting in one of these towns in each quarter. SAT hopes that it can have more. The work is ongoing. What is very important is that SAT will have all services render from that village or town and there will be no imported services.
On visitor experience: regarding the improvement or financial support around things such as the review process of quality assurance, Ms Kotze-Nhlapo noted the Acting Chairperson’s question that quality assurance or grading is not for free. SAT is in a process with the Department to review the policy. At that moment, Ms Kotze-Nhlapo could say that with the support through the Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP), SAT has free quality assurance at moment for those establishments that qualify for this financial year.
On eco-friendly and green tourism: in 2019, there were accolades under responsible tourism introduced, and there are quite a few establishments that do have that accolade. SAT is encouraging and recognises where people do have those services and those qualities around eco-friendly and green tourism.
Ms Sthembiso Dlamini, Chief Operations Officer, SAT, responded to Ms Makhubela-Mashele’s question on what SAT is doing in the international space to dispel the myths and to repackage the messaging. SAT has been continuously engaging with people on the ground and trade partners. In SAT’s entire 2020 year, part of the work it has been doing is to engage trade partners to inform them about what South Africa has been doing as a destination to prepare itself when things open. The other thing that becomes critical is that SAT’s relationship with missions is critical in pushing common messaging around what the destination is doing to ensure that it is dealing with the pandemic. The US has put South Africa on level four for travel advisory. It is a demonstration of how well South Africa has worked with the embassy mission, where with the mission in Washington, South Africa was able to come back and communicate with a single voice in partnership with the (GCIS). The most important thing is that South Africa continuously, particularly where it does not have offices, rely on its missions to carry the position of the country on what it is doing in the pandemic. It will be very important for South Africa going into this financial year given that investment levels have come back, that over and above its own platforms where it disseminates information, it will be able to disseminate information in paid platforms where previously in the 2020 fiscal year it was unable to do so given budgets cuts. Part of SAT’s operational plans is to ensure that it identifies media partners to assist it in disseminating information around South Africa’s readiness to receive visitors. SAT has taken very seriously its role in how, in the midst of this pandemic, SAT is communicating what trade partners or tourism products are doing to ready themselves to implement bio-security protocols. Safety and security has been heightened because of the pandemic.
Ms Dlamini responded to Mr De Freitas’ comment that SAT would not be able to do this work alone. She wanted to highlight some of the partners that SAT seeks to ensure that it can build scale on the work that it does and create the reach that it wants. At the core SAT knows that access is an issue, so airline partnerships become important, because it can create as much demand as it wants. Media becomes critical; who it forges a relationship with is critical. SAT has its own platforms, but it is important to have paid media platforms where it can disseminate this information. She had already mentioned the importance of collaboration with missions; here in South Africa, SAT is partnering with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and it presents its plans to DIRCO, so the latter is able to carry the messaging across to various missions and engage with heads of missions at DIRCO where SAT shares its plans to enable a singular message. As much as SAT wants to create demands in various markets, it is important to stay close to its channel partners, who are trade partners. These are the people who sell South Africa. It is important to continuously engage them. SAT would like to tap into those who are selling South Africa, but selling competitor destinations, bring those entities into its books so that they begin to look at South Africa as a viable business for them. Another important partner is around partnerships with the private sector and non-tourism partners. It is important to mention that; the CEO had mentioned that as well. The more partners South Africa gets, the more SAT is enabled to grow its brand stature and awareness so that by the time things return to normalcy SAT is ready with these partnerships. SAT has a partnership policy that has been approved by the board; as management, the board works within that ambit. It is important to mention that part of the strategy in the APP and Annual Operating Plan (AOP) is that strategic partnership is what will help SAT to drive the sector recovery.
Mr Ntshona reiterated the team’s work on the repackaging of the messaging on the variant. There is a lot of work that is happening in SAT’s offshore offices that may not be apparent in the South African environment. There is a lot of diplomacy work where the Minister is starting to engage at country level to ensure that some of those bans can be lifted as an example.
SAT’s budget has been restored to 2019 levels, and this is where SAT is literally where SAT is beginning to “pull the lever” on a lot of the above-the-line marketing.
On the cost of testing as an inhibitor: The short answer is that yes, it is a competitive environment out there. The fewer barriers South Africa has, the more competitive it is. However, SAT still works in a country policy environment. At the moment, entry into South Africa requires a negative COVID-19 test. Until that regime has been changed, this is what SAT is continuing on. There is a balance between keeping the country safe, and at the same time allowing trade and free movement of people.
On Mr Gumbi’s question on tourism protocols: The Tourism Recovery Plan was approved by Cabinet last week. In there are the norms and standards that now become country standards in terms of how the different parts of the tourism industry come together. Here, everyone is allowed to come into South Africa, whether one is vaccinated or not vaccinated. What is needed is a negative test at the port of entry. That is current regime South Africa is under, and will continue with it until it is changed.
There was Ms Xego’s question on output 2.1, and why everything was flat for the first three quarters and 100% in quarter four. The issues that SAT is dealing with are that it wants to ensure that any audit queries or outcomes that have been raised either by external or internal parties are fully compliant with the following year so that there are no repeats. The issue SAT has is that the addressing of this matter is not linear. One cannot allocate 25% for example, per quarter, because SAT does not know the severity or the depth of the issue and how long it will take to address these. What SAT is sure of is that by the end of the year it wants 100% of the matters to be addressed. It could start 10%, 20%, then it spikes up in the end; SAT does not know. It does not want to put in targets that the PC will ask it again after a quarter, “Why did you not reach this target?” What SAT will do is giving quarterly updates on how it is progressing; it is keeping a close eye on it to make sure that come the end of the year, SAT meets its objective in that area.
On whether 21 million arrivals by 2030 is still the goal: It is part of SAT’s five-year strategic plan. Unless that has been changed that is what it aims towards. It will be doing everything within its control to make sure that it can “pull those levers”. SAT will be reviewing that through the Department as and when required. As it stands the five-year plan has 21 million visitors by 2030.
Ms Xego asked a question about people having a fear of travelling: The key thing that SAT is focusing on is domestic, regional and international. It is not so much about awareness – conversion becomes the name of the game. This is why the team is starting to look at partners, whereby not only does SAT show people beautiful South Africa, but there is a call to action, so that people can book, and can be “converted on the spot”, as opposed to leaving people to their own devices on how to get there, etcetera. Every campaign that SAT does must have a conversion element that drives people. At the end of the day, it is the guests in beds, guests in cars etcetera that counts at the ends of the day.
Digital is having “a huge impact” on the tourism business. It is migrating from the traditional marketing of above-the-line, TV adverts, billboards, and etcetera and moving towards the digital space. People want to be spoken to personally and SAT is appearing on people’s iPads, laptops, cell phones, etcetera with bespoke messaging that speaks to people. Digitalisation is the name of game. The Minister launched a hotel in Cape Town three weeks ago. There are robots that are serving people. “We have to re-imagine what we think and the impact of technology within the tourism industry”. SAT wants to make sure that it is ahead of the curve from that perspective. Hence, the CFO said that significant investment has been made on the technology path.
In reply to Ms Winkler, Mr Ntshona said that net promoter score is a tool that allows the voice of the traveller to be heard. Travellers ultimately decide how good SAT is because it is a traveller that has a choice to either come to South Africa or to another destination. SAT wants to make sure that travellers’ voices are heard and SAT is able to infuse that in terms of how it delivers. Quality assurance is a stamp of approval that gives people comfort to travel here or within here.
Eco-tourism and eco-friendly issues are the topics of the day, and it is the industry that needs to adjust itself and services accordingly. Should SAT be behind the curve on that issue South Africa becomes less competitive and less compelling as a destination.
On visitor experience: something that SAT is spending on is welcome campaigns. When one lands at OR Tambo International Airport, both domestically and internationally, does one feel welcome in South Africa? Does it really make the traveller feel, after a 10- to 12-hour flight, welcome to their destination? As one lands on the international side, the first marketing signage that one sees is a bank. Already, it is transactional. SAT wants to soften that landing as a traveller is coming in with a “welcome, thank you for visiting”, etcetera. When a traveller leaves, “thank you for visiting us”, etcetera. If one looks at the domestic travellers as well, when they land in the terminal at OR Tambo, what they see is a supermarket; for example SPAR is selling to them. SAT is saying that it wants to soften these and make the message a “thank you”, and to make the message comforting. Ports of entry training are important because if the value chain does not work or emigration officials are not friendly it kills the entire experience from inception as well. Visitor experience is something that SAT is focusing on and is making sure that it can “hand-hold” in those specific areas. SAT is not just looking at airports, it is also looking at taxi ranks, bus stations, and etcetera; anywhere that travellers congregate, SAT wants to make sure that it can start to do something from that perspective.
On VTSDs: The Lilizela Awards are in quarter three; it is the awards ceremony for recognition of the players in the industry. Issues on VTSDs are things that SAT is carrying with it on a daily basis. An example was given of last week in Mpumalanga. SAT wants to include SMMEs into its product offerings because the recovery must be different from how the industry went into things. These are the hidden gems that SAT now wants to make the stars of the show. The issue of VTSDs is not something being pushed back; it is something that lives every day right across the business, both in the leisure side, and in the business events side.
The Acting Chairperson said that the Committee was beginning to feel the warmth coming to VTSDs after Ms Kotze-Nhlapo explained some things which are very important; i.e. how SAT will approach things dorpie by dorpie, and village by village. It is showing that there is a movement happening there, and gives the Committee great hope. The Acting Chairperson thanked the Minister, the Deputy Minister, and also the SAT Executive for the presentation and responses. She also thanked the Members for their contributions in the meeting and for what Members raised. The Acting Chairperson thought that the Committee was now feeling the movement in terms of tourism in VTSDs, which were previously neglected when it came to tourism activities. The tourism economy was side-lining these areas
The Committee adopted its minutes of a previous meeting.
Consideration of Draft Committee Programme for the Second Term of 2021
The Committee Secretary, Mr J Boltina, said that the Secretariat wants to resubmit this programme to the Office of the House Chairperson so that he can look at it and approve it. There were issues that the Secretariat wanted the Committee to look at as it was given the focus areas by the Office of the House Chairperson. The Secretariat looked at the focus areas and then re-crafted the programme and submitted it to the House Chairperson. The only thing that was outstanding was that that programme was not adopted by the Committee. For the second term with the allocation of time that has been done by Parliament this term will start from 4 May 2021 and end on 4 June 2021. That means that the Committee has a period of five weeks specifically for committees to focus on their work in preparation for the budget vote debate. On 4 May the Committee had a meeting with the Department on its APP. Today was a meeting with the SAT. The reason why the Committee had this meeting today; Wednesday is not ordinarily a Committee meeting day; but because the debate on the budget vote is on Tuesday 18 May, the Secretariat thought of bringing these days closer so that staff can have sufficient time to work on the programme. That is why the Committee had that meeting today. Next week on Tuesday 11 May, the Committee will be tabling the draft Committee report on the budget vote. Mr Boltina was advised that the budget vote debate on tourism will be on Tuesday 18 May from 10am to 12pm. On Tuesday 25 May, the Committee has not arranged any meeting, because Parliament has arranged those budget vote debates to start early in the morning and they will run throughout the day. On the following Tuesday 1 June: The Committee will recall that it has an outstanding meeting with the South African banks. The Committee proposed that that must be in the second term. The Committee cannot have that meeting in May because it is fully booked. What has been communicated to the banks is that the Committee wants to have that meeting on Tuesday 1 June 2021, 9am to 12pm. One of the things that the Committee wants to do is invite the provincial chairs from the legislators who are responsible for tourism to join that meeting as well, so that after that meeting, if there are other issues with funding tourism, then legislators can take up the issues in their respective provinces.
The other thing that the Secretariat wants the Committee to support is as follows. Initially, the Committee was planning an oversight visit to Limpopo to be from 2 June to 6 June. Due to changes in the parliamentary programme, the Secretariat was proposing to the Committee that oversight must take place from 7 June up to 11 June. The Secretariat has found that at the end of May, there are also budget votes that will still be continuing. For example, the budget vote of the Presidency will be taking place along those lines, and then the budget vote of Parliament will also be taking place along those lines. The Secretariat was asking the Committee to agree with it so that it can adjust this programme from 7 to 11 June, so that the Committee uses that week. The Secretariat does understand that that week will fall into the constituency period. The Secretariat wants to submit a motivation for that, because it seen sometime in the past in April, whilst it was told it was a constituency period, some Committees were allowed to undertake their provincial oversight visit. That is why the Secretariat was proposing adjusting the time of the oversight visit to Limpopo from 7 June to 11 June.
The Acting Chairperson asked if Mr Boltina was referring to the Legislature Tourism Oversight Forum (LETOFO) or something else when he referred to chairpersons of tourism.
Mr Boltina said yes; the Chairpersons of Committees that are responsible for tourism in the provincial legislatures; in other words, the LETOFO. The Secretariat wants all of them to be part of that meeting with the banks.
The Acting Chairperson noted the proposals by the Secretariat, and that it was proposing the oversight visit be amended to 7 to 11 June due to the fact that the Committee has so many budget votes in May. The only time it could undertake its oversight visit will be during its recess period, which is from 7 June to 11 June, as other Committees are doing.
Ms Mpushe agreed with the proposed programme, and moved for the adoption, but she also noted what Mr Boltina raised on the planned visit during constituency week which was approved. Perhaps the Chairperson and the Whip must follow up, so that the Committee is not undermined by the rescheduling of its planned programme, and prioritise other Committees.
The Acting Chairperson said that Mr Boltina spoke about the budget votes – Ms Mpushe interjected to say that it is the oversight visit that the Committee was to undertake during constituency period).
The Acting Chairperson asked Ms Mpushe to clarify what she said.
Mr Boltina said that what the Secretariat was proposing to the Committee was that: If one looks at the parliamentary programme at this stage, towards the end of May are a lot of budget vote debates that are scheduled. Amongst the budget votes, “you will find the budget vote of Parliament; you will also find the budget vote of the Presidency”. Therefore, if the Committee can use those dates, those dates can impact on what the Committee intended to do. Therefore, what the Secretariat is intending the Committee to support it is for the Committee to slightly adjust its oversight programme so that it can start on 7 June and end on 11 June; it would use that whole week for undertaking the visit to Limpopo. If the Committee agrees with the Secretariat, it will send back this programme to the Office of the House Chairperson as a revised programme for reconsideration.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Mr Boltina for clarifying that.
Ms Mpushe said that previously, the Committee had submitted, and its submission was not approved on the basis that it was during the constituency week. Her “humble plea”, therefore, was that the Chairperson and the Whip must intervene on the fact that those two officials must approve the Committee’s planned visit.
The Acting Chairperson said that this is a matter that must be approved by the Portfolio Committee; “it cannot be approved by anyone else besides the Portfolio Committee”.
Ms Mpushe said her understanding was that the Committee was going to make a submission for approval. She personally approved of the programme for the Committee, but with a disclaimer that it must be approved also where the Committee is going to be submitting thinking that it will be submitting to the EXCO.
The Acting Chairperson said that Ms Makhubela-Mashele, with her previous experience, could advise the Committee on how the approvals process works.
Mr Boltina said that the proposal is already available. It is just for the PC to say yes, it agrees as a Committee that this oversight visit to Limpopo must take place on 7 June to 11 June. Once the Committee says that, then the proposal will go to the Secretariat and the Chairperson to sign it off. Once that Chairperson signs it off, the plan will go to the Office of the House Chairperson for reconsideration.
Ms Makhubela-Mashele wanted to second the adoption of the plan, but she indicated that the planned oversight visit was planned during the constituency period. She asked if Members could be allowed to look at their constituency programmes because Members might agree and yet find that a contingent of few Members is able to travel during the constituency period due to other constituency programmes being already planned by other Members. She asked for the flexibility to allow Members to go and visit their programmes and then come back and have further say on the planned oversight visit.
The Acting Chairperson asked Mr Boltina what was the deadline to submit the proposal so that the Committee could exhaust this matter. The Secretariat also has timeframes in which it needs to submit the plan.
Mr Boltina said that he would appreciate it if in the next Committee meeting, Members could indicate their availability.
The Acting Chairperson said that in the next Committee meeting, Members will have responses individually to say if they were available or not. Those who are available will go, and those who are not available will then not be available for the oversight visit. If the Item is proposed and seconded, at the next meeting one will see who is available. The Committee cannot hold this visit because of individual situations. It is “having a challenge of different constituencies with their dynamic problems”. Members cannot all be having the same type of situation, and therefore, if others are available to take over the work and represent the Committee during the constituency period, since it is in the programme, and that programme has been planned. Unfortunately, this is the situation. With those who are available, the Committee will look at the number and whether it makes sense. She thought that Mr Boltina will make an indication as to how many people are available to undertake the oversight visit during the recess period. The Acting Chairperson said to proceed with this matter, because the item was proposed and seconded and therefore it just needs Mr Boltina’s submission, and also in the next meeting, he would be able to see how many people are available.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Members who attended the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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