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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 February 2007
TOURISM, HOSPITALITY AND SPORT SECTOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITY 2006 ANNUAL REPORT: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr L Zita (ANC)
Documents handed out
Annual Report 2006 Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority [available at www.thetha.org.za]
Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (THETA) presentation
Training Matters Winter 2006 Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority [available at www.thetha.org.za]
Audio Recording of the meeting
The Committee was briefed on the 2006 Annual Report of the Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector Training and Education Authority. The briefing included results of the previous year with regard to learnerships, targets achieved in all areas in all provinces, goals for the achievement of the National Skills Development Strategy, training of tour guides in foreign languages and skills development for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Members asked questions about conflicts of interest with the Authority’s Board, the slow payment of administration fees to the Authority, the role of skills development facilitators and the very poor placement rates for people who had successfully completed learnerships.
Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (THETA) presentation
Mr Mike Tsotetsi (CEO) spoke about the background to THETHA, the learning curve that it had undergone and compared targets with achievements in the relevant industry sectors.
Mr Tsotetsi discussed capacity requirements and constraints, and explained ways of overcoming the constraints. Monetary commitments for the 20006/07 year and priorities were outlined. A progress report on the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) with regard to learnerships was presented, broken down into provincial achievements. The progress with regard to Further Education and Training (FET) was also presented with the information also broken down into provincial statistics. Provincial Skills Development Forums and their role in skills development were also discussed. The presentation concluded that the THETA was now in a position to deliver work-related training and employment.
The Chair welcomed the improvements being shown by the THETHA.
Dr I Cachalia (ANC) asked how the THETHA had achieved an unqualified audit from the Auditor General in 2005. What were the main types of skills training in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry and were tour guides trained only in English?
Mr L Khoarai (ANC) asked if THETHA had corrected its legacy of inefficiency. Why were Skills Development Facilitators charging exorbitant fees to develop workplace skills and did any follow-up and mentoring take place after the completion of training programmes?
Ms J Chalmers (ANC) also questioned whether there was any mentoring and monitoring after training. She asked for the specific details with regard to the skills that were being acquired in the Hospitality Industry. Why were disabled persons not included in skills development?
Mr Tsotetsi replied that the Auditor General had provided an unqualified report because adequate control systems had been put in place and the management of the organisation was now compliant with all regulations. The 2005 audit was the first unqualified one achieved by the THETHA. Concerns were raised about inadequate procurement processes but that has since been rectified.
The Chair questioned how this had been resolved and for the CEO to explain in detail the problems that occurred and how they were resolved.
Mr Tsotetsi replied that the Auditor General had conducted a forensic audit in October 2005 relating to the incident that took place in 2003.The report was given to the Minister of Labour and forwarded to the Board of THETA. The Board responded to the Minister who then extensively replied to what the Auditor General had raised. Any conflict of interest by the THETA Board would have been submitted. The Minister wanted to know if any fraud had been committed and if there were any additional benefits to any of the Board Members. The Auditor General reported that no fraud had been found. The full report could be made available to the Committee.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that tour guides were being trained in foreign languages (Spanish, French and German). This was also being encouraged in Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) as they needed these types of skills.
Ms Nomkhita Mapheelle (Learnership Co-ordinator, THETA) replied that surveys had been conducted to monitor how many learners achieved placements in gainful employment covering the Hospitality, Tourism, Sports and Gaming industries, and training in the sub-sectors.
Mr William Chuene (Skills Development Manager, THETA) added that the skills focus had now been shifted to be more in line with the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA). Inputs were being made into the schools curriculum in conjunction with the South African Tourism Institute. This included a project funded by the Spanish Government. Competitions with tourism themes were run in schools to encourage interest and awareness. Disabled persons presented a major challenge. Of the 1100 new learnerships, 5% were earmarked for disabled persons. Disabled persons were given an additional R10 000 for special accommodation and transport needs.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that trainers had to be registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as accredited providers; however some of the existing courses had not yet been evaluated.
The Chair wanted a refinement in policy and questioned whether the THETA was achieving the desired outcomes.
Mr Tsotetsi replied that not all course content had been aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and there was a need for a review. The providers had to be trained and the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges had to play a role in the process.
Mr Chuene added that the structure of facilitating skills development through outside providers was proving to be a challenge as those companies needed to submit Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) to the THETA. The Skills Development Facilitators had to be registered and recognised. Those applying for the qualifications ranged from Std 8 to PhD level. A minimum qualification had to be set in order for the business in question to acquire the teaching skills of the Skills Development Facilitator. Business saw this function as a legal requirement as opposed to a Human Resource function and sometimes this was outsourced in the form of a consultant. This meant that the training was happening “out there”.
Mr A Mokoena (ANC) asked if training skills were being developed in disadvantaged communities with a view to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Mr M Kalako (ANC) noted the improvements, but felt they were expecting too much from the THETA. He pointed out that the Hospitality and Tourism Industry was currently fragmented and that they needed to work closely with the Universities and Technikons, as well as with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). There were no short cuts in training and education and people with no grounding in education should not be considered as facilitators. This should be raised with the Department.
Mr Kalako felt there had been a breakdown in communication between the role players in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. THETHA evaluated students every three years which did not enable adequate tracking of the students. The Department of Education needed to get involved in the co-ordination as well.
Dr Cachalia asked whether any action had been taken against INTEC and whether any of the money was recovered.
Mr Khoarai expressed concern about the amount of money used for chef’s courses and asked whether the training was successful. He also queried recruitment of the disabled and asked how available learnerships would be advertised so that those in the sector would be informed about the possibilities available to them.
Mr S Rasmeni (ANC) queried how the training was funded and if vouchers issued by THETA were controlled and followed-up. He also queried what kind of training could be obtained with the amount of R10 000 per company.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that the administration component of the skills levy due by the DEAT and nine provincial government departments is not consistently collected which caused a funding shortfall.
Mr Khoarai asked why the administration fee was not being paid to THETA.
Mr Tsotetsi replied that the government was not enforcing payment of the administration fee.
The Chair asked what role the administration fee played in THETA.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that the skills levy was paid by employers to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and it was then was paid over to the Department of Labour. There was a one per cent administration fee across the board for all SETAs. R10 million has been received from national and provincial departments, although R15 million is actually due.
Mr Tsotetsi said a Master Skills Development Plan for the World Cup existed in conjunction with ASGI-SA and the Department of Labour. This will include Youth Development, life skills training, Sports Science and coaching, as well as Sports Facility management. Media, volunteer programmes and project management will be developed. Hospitality training in computer booking systems would be facilitated and tour operators would be trained according to Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) levels.
Mr Tsotesi continued that the Auditor General did not act against the staff of INTEC as no individual breached the law. In 2004 the project was closed. Provider delivery did not take place; however the “Y” provider continued the training. The costs of training chefs were high as it was a scarce skill; however black chefs were not meeting the required standards. Some funding had been ring-fenced to train disabled people and community leader training in the Hospitality Industry has been developed.
Mr Chuene stated that the tourism industry was fragmented and that the training products did not match industry standards. All stakeholders had to be “on the same page”.
Ms Mapheelle stated that graduate internships existed. In the learner programme, six-month internships were encouraged. Co-ordination of language skills in the Tourism industry needed to meet global competitive standards.
Mr Mokoena stated that the resolution of the INTEC problem was inadequate and that is why people had no confidence in and respect for THETHA. Tourism companies wanted to make a profit while training came second. Hospitality entrepreneurs had to be separated from would-be trainees.
The Chair called for a review of the training module in the hospitality industry and ruled that THETA must report on this to the Committee. The fact that no action was taken by the Board against INTEC was unacceptable. Corporate governance had to be improved and there was a need for transformation research. He enquired about research capacity in THETA.
Ms Chalmers asked about the collation of statistics on post-training employment.
Mr Rasmeni asked how the voucher system would apply to Small Medium and Micro Enterprises.
The Chair asked about “employment sensitivity” in the film industry.
Mr Mokoena commented that THETA would grow as 70% of the funding would go towards training learners in the workplace.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that there had been no action taken against any Board member as none had declared a conflict of interest.
The Chair asked about the percentage of the Tender Board that had had conflicts of interest.
Mr Rasmeni commented that the Auditor General would report any Board members that had conflicts of interest; however that had not happened.
The Chair asked how many of the Board had declared a conflict of interest in any matter.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that the tender process was an internal matter and that there was an annual declaration by members of any outside interests.
The Chair repeated his previous question.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that no member had excused themselves in any matter except in relation to sport coaches. There was an annual declaration of interests and if any of those members had businesses, the conflict of interest would be declared. THETHA did not have a research unit, but commissioned external research companies.
Mr Mokoena enquired about the money that was given back to the employer for conducting training if there was a contracted provider.
Mr Tsotetsi replied that employers could claim money back if they had a training programme in place for employees. This included the bigger corporates like the Southern Sun Group which already had programmes in place for education within the work place. SMMEs had difficulties in that time off for training could scarcely be afforded; trainers would therefore do on-site training.
Mr Rasmeni asked why THETHA had had so little time to prepare for this meeting.
Mr Tsotetsi replied that he received the notice on Friday, 16 February only could not meet the Board until Monday, 19 February.
Mr Tsotetsi stated that in order to achieve the targets of the National Skills Development Strategy an amount of R1 billion would be needed by all SETAs, but they were receiving only R500 million at the moment.
Ms Mapeelle said that the placement rate of those completing learnerships was 40% but this depended on employers. After completing the learnership there was no stipulation for a guaranteed placement. The 40% placement rate included those that were currently employed that were busy completing learnerships.
Mr Chuene added that 80% of people who had completed learnerships could not find jobs. This had to be corrected urgently.
The Chair stated that THETA had to accelerate job creation to reduce poverty.
The meeting was adjourned.
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