Tourism Amendment Bill [B50-99]: briefing

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


14 June 2000

Documents handed out:
Tourism Amendment Bill [B 50 - 99]
Amendments to the Tourism Amendment Bill [B50A - 99]

The Committee, in a follow up meeting to the one on 7 June 2000, was given a clause by clause briefing on the Tourism Amendment Bill. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism briefed the select Committee on the asbestos case saying the hearing before the House of Lords in Britain would take place on 19 June 2000.

The Asbestos Case
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms GL Mahlangu, informed members of the Select Committee that the asbestos case in the UK would be held on Monday, 19 June 2000. She reminded members that this case involved an asbestos mining company called Cape PLC, which operated in Priska in the Northern Cape and Mafefe in Northern Province. This would be a landmark case to ensure that multinational companies clean up their mess in countries they operate in. Premiers of both Northern Cape and Northern Province have been delegated to attend the case with members of the Portfolio Committee. She made an invitation to the Select Committee to join the delegation. A press statement would be issued to say the Portfolio Committee supports the people who instituted the action and to commend Parliament for highlighting the plight of these people. The Select Committee agreed that the press statement be proceeded with.

Tourism Amendment Bill [B 50 - 99]
Mr M Matola of the South African Tourism Board (SATOUR) said in the meeting of 7 June 2000 he gave a brief overview of the core principles of the Bill and handed out a document that showed all the amendments. This meeting was to go through the Bill, clause by clause.

Clause 1
If one looks at the Bill together with the principal Act it would be seen that clauses 1 and 2 introduce notable changes. Because of decentralisation clause 1(b) introduces provincial registrars. Mr Matola pointed out that this would not necessarily entail appointing new personnel. Existing personnel and infrastructure would be utilised.

Clause 2: National Registrar of Tourist Guides
The clause provides for the substitution of clause 20 of the principal Act. The new clause provides that the Minister shall appoint a National Registrar of Tourist Guides, which would be housed in the national Department. The National Registrar would be responsible for maintaining a central database of all registered tourist guides, and for facilitating quality assurance and consumer complaints.

Clause 3: Functions of Provincial Registrars
The function of provincial registrars would be to take over the administrative functions of SATOUR and feeding information into provincial databases linked to the national database. The will also be responsible for hearing appeals and complaints, and for the growth and development of tour guides.

Clause 4 insertion of sections 21A to 21I in Act 72 of 1993

Section 21A - Procedure relation to registration
It was agreed that tour guides are a sector, not necessarily an industry. In the past they applied to SATOUR for registration. According to the Bill they will apply provincially as long as they can demonstrate competence, but the National Registrar will keep a database of where they are registered.

The section carries a disqualification for people convicted of criminal offences. This is mainly for the safety of tourists. Foreign tour managers also may not act as guides. For quality assurance no one may act as a guide unless they have undergone a validation program. There is a two-year period in which to go through the process. It does not mean current qualifications fall away but that if one fails the program in the two-year grace period they cannot be registered.

Section 21B - competence
A significant change brought about by the Bill is that instead of qualifications tour guides are recognised for their competence. This is also because of the outcomes based system of education.

Q.) Ms AM Versfeld (DP - Western Cape) asked how often must a guide renew registration once registered as a guide and whether they would have to go through the test each time.

A.) Mr Matola said once registered one would be a guide for life. Guides are required to renew registration to encourage quality assurance and for updating the registrars' database. The guides will not have to go through the test each again. The validation process is a once off thing.

Q.) Mr ML Mokoena (ANC - Northern Province) wanted to know what happens when someone registered as a general guide and down the line acquires special competence.

A.) Such specialisation would be credited and a new certificate and badge issued after the guide has demonstrated competence.

Section 21B provides for competence to be nationally determined by South African Qualifications Authority in either unit standards or national qualifications to meet objects of the National Qualifications Framework. Mr Matola said this would ensure that people who train guides have access to the skills development levy. This would in turn encourage these people to take more guides for learnerships. He said an invitation was given to the Portfolio Committee to have two members sit on the panel that determines the national competence.

Q.) Mr AE Van Niekerk (NNP - Northern Cape) expressed concern that the invitation to sit in the panel was extended only to the Portfolio Committee. He said the Chairperson should pursue the matter further.

A.) Mr Matola said it might be possible to extend an invitation to the NCOP.

The Chairperson, Reverend P Moatshe, said he would attempt to follow up the issue.

Section 21C - Code of conduct and ethic
Section 21C deals with the code of conduct. The initial draft provided for the code to be drawn in consultation with associations of tour guides but was omitted after realisation that guides don't operate in a vacuum but in communities. A wording that provides for consultation with stakeholder groupings and the Minister of Transport was included since it was realised that environmental issues and activities of tourism have an impact on the community.

Q.) Mr AE Van Niekerk felt the clause limits consultation to only the Minister of Transport while other ministries are affected by tourism as well.

A.) Mr Matola said a need was felt to include Minister of Transport because transport plays a major role as tourists use transport to a large extent.

The clause on the code of conduct and ethics refers to ethics because the drafters wanted to capture other subtle areas that are not conduct per se but impact on tourism. An example was made of tourists taking photos of cultural people without their approval. An attempt is being made to link issues of conduct and ethics.

A guide has to take reasonable steps to ensure safety of tourists. This means guides without being alarmist should reasonable be able to advise tourists on their safety. In addition a guide has to be able to deliver service.

Section 21D - Complaints
Section 21D provides for procedure for lodging complaints and how provincial registrars deals with them. The section provides nothing new except that where a complaint discloses an offence the provincial registrar has to lay a charge with the police. The section also provides for dealing with cases of misconduct.

The Provincial Registrar is required to report within 14 days to the National Registrar in writing on the result of any case dealt with.

The Provincial Registrar is required to grant guides a request to be heard and to be assisted by an adviser of their choice.

Section 21E - Action by Provincial Registrar regarding disqualification of tourist guide
Section 21E provides an important inclusion in that the Provincial Registrar has to make the necessary endorsement in the register regarding a decision to disqualify a guide and publish such withdrawal of registration in the Government Gazette and in at least one newspaper that circulates in the province concerned.

Q.) Mr AE Van Niekerk asked how long does the endorsement stay, whether there is no way that a guide may be rehabilitated and reapply.

A.) Mr Matola said the Bill does not provide for reapplication upon rehabilitation. He said allowing a provincial registrar to withdraw a guide's registration indefinitely could give them unlimited power. He said he would note the concern and look at it.

Mr AE Van Niekerk said special circumstances may be there to warrant registrar to reconsider a guide's application.

Ms AM Versfeld said it should be put in the Bill that it is not entirely in the registrar's power to deregister.

Mr Matola said he would make a note to consult the legal advisors to see if the concerns of the Committee cannot be put into the Bill.

Section 21F provides for disciplinary measures to be followed by a provincial registrar where there is reason to believe that a tourist guide is guilty of misconduct.

Section 21G provides for appeals against, and reviews of, decisions of a provincial registrar.

Section 21H provides for prohibitions. Mr Matola said given the history of bus accidents no tourist guide may drive a vehicle carrying more than 9 persons and at the same time act as a tourist guide.

Mr AE Van Niekerk said the section should rather provide for the carrying capacity of vehicles because his view is that what causes accidents in these instances is the size of vehicles not the people inside.

Mr Mokoena suggested that the clause should provide that no tourist guide may drive a vehicle with a carrying capacity of more than nine people. The members of the Committee were in favour of this suggestion.

Mr Matola agreed that this was the essence of what they wanted to capture in the section. He said they would check with the Department of Transport.

Q.) A member asked who polices the employment of tour guides.

A.) Mr Matola said it was suggested that the Department of Transport would do so because they usually ask for public driver's permits. The Bill itself does not identify who.

Section 21I provides for the settling of disputes between the national and provincial registrars on functions mentioned in the section. The matter shall be referred to the Director-General: Environmental Affairs and Tourism for arbitration and their decision.

The Committee then considered the invitation to go to attend the asbestos case in the House of Lords in England. Members agreed that since they received the invitation late they would not attend the case as they had already budgeted for a planned trip to Israel.

The meeting was adjourned.


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