In a virtual meeting, the Committee considered the draft Committee programme for the first term of 2022.
A Member said it was important for the Committee to visit tourism destinations that were of concern in the different provinces once the restrictions eased. As water and sanitation facilities, as well as transport, were important factors in the tourism sector, the Committee should engage with the other relevant committees. It was suggested that to avoid auditing challenges, the Committee should hold a joint meeting with the Department of Tourism and the Auditor-General. Another proposal was that the Committee's oversight should include visits to rural and central areas within the provinces, to compare their tourism activities. The Committee also needed a meeting with the Department of Employment and Labour to discuss the licensing of tour operators.
The Committee Secretary went over all the concerns and suggestions noted by the Members, and responded that there would be provincial visits and oversight of tourism destinations, and that the Committee would be engaging with other committees whose activities were related to tourism.
Committee's draft first term programme 2022
Mr Jerry Boltina, Committee Secretary, said that the purpose of the meeting was to review the Committee's draft programme for the first quarter of 2022.
He said that when programmes were drafted, the support teams were the ones that provided guidance. The Joint Programming Committee had had a meeting on 25 November, and had agreed on the parameters for the first quarter. Subsequent to that meeting, the House Chair had developed a guide for the draft programme for the Committee for 2022. This draft showed that the first term would commence on 25 January and end on 1 April 2022.
Mr Boltina said that the National Assembly (NA) Members' training would be from 25 January till 9 February, and that this was also a period for the Committee to have meetings. More information was needed on the meetings.
The plenaries and committees would commence on 22 February till 25 March 2022.
The issues that the House Chair had referred to the Committees before undertaking planning were:
- The Committees that had legislation or other matters needed to try to complete their work.
- The State of the Nation Address (SoNA) would take place on 10 February. The debate would be on 14 and 15 February for the Members, and the President would respond on 16 February.
- On 8 December 2021, the House Chair wanted the programmes from all the Committees be submitted to his office to be considered.
He said one of the issues brought by the Department of Tourism was that there was a mismatch in the databases. When the issue was raised with the Department, they had responded that they had paid what was due according to the list that was provided to them, and consolidated it at the provincial level. There would therefore be a briefing on 22 February to address these issues.
The strategic plan had been put on hold due to many changes taking place. This was not the fault of the Committee -- Parliament had had held back the execution of the strategic plan.
Mr Boltina said that there were suggestions that the second quarter performance report be taken and considered with the first quarter reports.
Ms H Winkler (DA) said she did not see any recommendations that had been made in the year on the agenda. She added that once restrictions eased, it was important for the Committee to visit tourism destinations of concern, like Wilsons Wharf and the Golden Mile in Durban, and others.
The Acting Chairperson asked whether there was a possibility of attending to these tourism destinations that Ms Winkler had noted in the programme.
Ms Winkler added that the Committee needed to engage with the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, because this was a big issue where tourism was involved, and should be made one of the top three priorities. There should be provision for oversight in the other provinces during the year.
Ms P Mpushe (ANC) proposed that the meeting of the Committee with the Tourism Department’s audit and risk committee should be held jointly with the Auditor-General (AG) as one meeting. This would prevent having to go back and forth, and further conflict. With the oversight visit to Limpopo, she hoped that the Department had a project that was a part of the expanded public works programme (EPWP) infrastructure, in order to get a follow up on projects that were incomplete and to see when they would be finished. This follow up was important, as large sums of money had been allocated to the projects.
Ms S Xego (ANC) said she appreciated the framework that had been organised by the House Chair, and that the Committee’s programme was aligned to this framework. She suggested that when planning for oversight visits, the Committee should follow a trend, going to both the rural and central areas of provinces in order to compare their tourism activities. She also suggested that support staff should look at the Committee's proposals, to avoid mistakes that had been made previously. She said it was important for other departments to relate to the Committee's mandate. For instance, the Department of Water and Sanitation needed to be engaged with.
She added that the Committee should adopt the first quarter programme of 2022 as presented, and that all suggestions put forward by the Members should be kept separately so that the support staff could review them.
The Acting Chairperson said that the Department of Transport needed to do a presentation on the licensing of tour operators. This was a meeting that should have taken place, but had not due to certain circumstances. She said that all suggestions were important and would be considered. The tourism transformation programme also needed a follow up meeting, as the Committee had not been happy with the previous meeting.
Mr Boltina said that he had made note of Ms Winkler’s concerns. He added that there was engagement between this Committee and other committees, and there would be provincial oversight visits, starting in Limpopo. Thereafter, the Committee could make suggestions on the next province where oversight should be carried out.
Regarding oversight, he said that at the Committee's meeting with the Department on 1 March, the Department would give it a list of all tourism projects in place throughout the country. The Department needed to inform the Committee which projects would be continued with, and which would be discontinued, along with reasons for the discontinuation. The Committee could then make a note of the money lost on incomplete projects.
The Auditor-General had made recommendations to the Department and the Portfolio Committee to ensure that matters were followed up on and monitored regularly.
Mr Boltina noted the Chairperson’s suggestions, and said that many departments, including the Department of Transport, would be engaging with the Committee.
The programme was adopted.
Adoption of Committee minutes
Mr Boltina referred to the Committee's minutes of 30 November, and said the Department of Labour had raised a number of issues. They had mentioned the draft national labor migration policy of South Africa, the inspections that would be taking place, and issues involving the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). All departments should strengthen collaboration to root out corruption and unfair labor practices that were in the system.
The Department of Employment and Labour should provide the Committee with the following:
- A report of the tourism establishments that were visited in the last four years so that the Committee could follow up whether health and safety measures had been met.
- A report on the investigations undergone in each of the provinces.
- Research findings on policies should be submitted to the Committee.
- The Department of Tourism should establish formal collaboration with the Department of Employment and Labour regarding the training programmes.
Mr Boltina said that the support team of the Committee would provide a follow up on this information within two months’ time.
He added that once the minutes for this meeting were adopted, correspondence would be issued from the House Chair to the Minister, who would "cc" the Director-General about the outcomes of the meeting and when the Committee would receive responses on their concerns.
The Acting Chairperson said that there was a need to establish how many South Africans were employed in the tourism establishment, and how many were foreign nationals. It should also be established how many of the foreign nationals had documentation, and how many did not. These statistics were important.
The Committee moved the adoption of the minutes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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