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Taking Parliament to People, and People to Parliament
LAND & ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
7 June 2000
STATUTORY LEVY ON SORGHUM; TOURISM AMENDMENT BlLL [B50B-99]
Documents handed out:
Report of the National Agricultural Marketing Council, and dissenting views
Tourism Amendment Bill [B50B-99]
The Committee approved the statutory levy on Sorghum, as requested by the Agricultural Marketing Council. There was also an informal debate on the Tourism Amendment Bill.
Sorghum Statutory Levy
Mr J Gordon of the Agricultural Marketing Council (AMC) reported to the Committee that the continuation of the statutory levy on sorghum was supported by the majority of role-players in the industry. Funds from the levy were used to support ongoing research both locally and internationally. While the industry acknowledged that the long term vision was that the individual stakeholders would start funding specific research in the near future, a period in which the levy was applied was still required to ensure the continuation of current projects.
Mr Van Niekerk (NNP-Northern Cape) raised questions regarding the capacity to collect the levies, and asked for more detail about the type of research projects that were being funded.
Mr Gordon replied that the proposed inclusion of the levy in the price of seed would minimise the administrative burden. The arrears that currently exist all relate to imports, and it should not be a problem to collect them as they are in the hands of three or four reputable importers. With respect to research, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) produces funding proposals based on the needs of growers, millers, etc. The research is market-driven and mostly related to agronomy.
Several Members requested more time to study the report. However, Mr Mokoena (ANC-Northern Province) pointed out that the AMC was simply requesting the extension of an existing practice for an additional seven months (until 28 February, 2001). His proposal to approve the extension of the levy ultimately prevailed.
Tourism Amendment Bill
It was agreed that the meeting's discussion would be limited to the intent of the Bill, and that a clause-by-clause debate would take place in a subsequent session.
Mr Matola, from the South African Tourism Board (SATOUR), outlined three types of objectives for the Bill, namely economic, social and environmental.
The economic objectives of the Bill include generating employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, the development of rural communities, the growth of regional tourism, and the provision of tourist services.
The social objectives include pride in a range of South African resources, as well as the monitoring of the adverse impacts of tourism, such as the negative impacts on communities. The Bill also intends to act as a catalyst for the career development of tour guides, since it provides a link between guiding and SAQA (South African Qualifications Act) credentials.
The environmental objectives relate to the conservation of resources.
The proposed amendments imply that:
- The oversight function would be moved from SATOUR to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
- The administration of registration and licensing of tour guides would be transferred to the provinces.
- The qualification of tour guides would be linked to the National Qualifying Framework.
Here Mr Matola gave the example of a tracker working at a game lodge. Currently, there is no official recognition of his skill and knowledge of the environment. The Bill would allow him to receive formal certification that would be recognised by future employers and thus facilitate career development. The certification would be based on current knowledge and experience as demonstrated in a field evaluation.
-Procedures for lodging complaints and guidelines for disciplinary measures would be developed.
-Illegal guiding or the employment of illegal guides would be criminalised.
-Guides not currently registered would be able to obtain provisional registration.
Mr Matola ended his presentation by drawing the Members' attention to two specific issues.
The first was that the mandate to transfer functions to the provinces was not going to be adequately funded. He said that this could be addressed by an initial transfer of funding from SATOUR for start-up costs. Thereafter, the registration function should become revenue generating (as registration fees are collected) in those provinces where many guides operate. In those provinces where there are few guides, the registration could be undertaken by existing personnel.
The second issue Mr Matola underlined was the choice of the word "competence" in Section 21 of the Bill. The choice of this word was intended to capture demonstrable knowledge and skill that does not assume literacy or formal educational requirements.
Mr Van Niekerk (NNP-Northern Cape) asked if research had been done on the revenue that could in fact be generated, and was concerned about the lack of provision in the Bill for funding for the provinces.
Mr Matola replied that research into cost and revenue had been done based on the number of guides in each province. He explained that the arrangements for transitional funding had only come up after the Bill had been tabled. However, it could still be captured in the Bill.
Ms Fubbs, a special delegate from Gauteng, submitted a detailed list of questions indicating the concerns of that province. She requested clarification on the definition of field guides, the grace-period for registration, discipline, monitoring and evaluation. Overall, Gauteng was concerned about whether the Bill had succeeded in harmonising job creation with rising costs to the industry. Of special interest to Gauteng is the additional burden that may be placed on the police force.
Mr Matola replied that the use of the police force would only occur in extreme cases. Usually, fines would suffice in cases of contravention. Enforcement could be linked to other line functions, and it would be up to the province to decide where to make those linkages.
On the issue of the grace-period for registration, Mr Matola clarified that non-registered guides would have two years in which to obtain provisional registration. Within six months of obtained provisional registration, they would have to go through a quality assurance programme to establish competence.
Reverend Chabaku expressed her satisfaction with the framing of the Bill, especially its attention to increased access to the tourist guiding sector. She is equally concerned though with encouraging local tourism, and asked for the definition of "tourist" in terms of the Bill.
Mr Matola replied that the definition is taken from the World Tourist Organisation and includes local people.
Another meeting will be scheduled to debate the Bill clause-by-clause, and this may be combined with a briefing on the fishing industry.
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