ATC101102: Report Oversight Visits to Northern Cape and Limpopo Provinces
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on Oversight Visits to Northern Cape and Limpopo Provinces, dated 2 November 2010
Having undertaken oversight visits in Northern Cape and Limpopo provinces, the Portfolio Committee on Tourism reports as follows:
The committee undertook an oversight visit to Northern Cape Province from 24 July 2010 to the 30 of July 2010 and the Limpopo Province from 2 August 2010 to 6 August 2010. The objectives of the visits were to:
· Assess the alignment and integration of tourism in the three spheres of government.
· Assess the level of stakeholder participation - both in the public and private sectors - and provincial government support.
· Analyse the contribution of the sector in job creation, with a focus on challenges, opportunities and prospects.
· Assess support for cultural and heritage tourism growth.
· Evaluate and assess the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and its outputs and outcomes.
· Assess the support for sustainable livelihoods, particularly for people involved with Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME's).
The Northern Cape leg of the visit incorporated the following areas: Kimberley (Sol Plaatjie District Municipality); Kuruman (John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality); and Upington (Siyanda District Municipality).
In Limpopo, the following areas were prioritised: Polokwane (Capricorn District Municipality); Thohoyandou/Mutale (Vhembe District Municipality; and Modjadji (Mopani District Municipality).
There has been a positive move taken by the Northern Cape Department of Tourism to redefine the province’s tourism industry, positioning it as a premier tourism destination, with attractions such as extreme sports, nature, cultural exploration and escapism. The initiative undertaken by the provincial department seeks to address issues that were previously lacking in the Northern Cape, one of which was active marketing. This drive has been substantiated by proactive moves such as bidding for events that are of an extreme nature such as the Maloof Money Cup and the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car, with both events having been safely secured for hosting in the 2011/12 financial year. The provincial government envisages that the marketing of these mega events nationally and internationally will be critical, as the full attendance of these events could yield positive returns for tourism in the province.
It was encouraging to note that the province is on track in addressing the issue of tourism development as well as rural tourism development. In line with the national priorities of government to fast-track rural development, the province has embarked on tourism route development projects in the following areas: Namakwa; Siyanda; John Taolo Gaetsewe; Pixley Ka Seme; and Frances Baard.
Although it is not yet evident whether this project will fully address the issue of rural tourism, this move will nevertheless create a platform for people in rural communities to participate in the development of rural tourism.
The move to increase the budget from an all-time low of 2 million rand in 1994 to about 32 million rand in the 2010/2011 financial year suggests the importance of tourism contribution to rural development, as well as economic development in the province. This is evidenced by the average yearly growth of 17% of national visitors as well as 25% in international visitors. However, it needs to be highlighted that the budget allocation received by the tourism department remains inadequate for its mission to completely unlock the potential of tourism in the province.
There is a high drive of entrepreneurial activity in the province, especially in the accommodation and hunting industries. Nevertheless, it is important to note that interest generated in the two industries could lead to over-saturation if the demand to visit the province does not match the supply. This was observed in one of the meetings in Kuruman, where the industry sector complained that business was becoming minimal, which suggested that the area might be moving towards over-saturation. There is growing support for emerging entrepreneurs in the province, through awards such as the ETEYA (Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award) awards and the ’bubbling under’ awards. The ‘bubbling under’ award is a sub–award to assist entrepreneurs who do not qualify for the ETEYA awards but bear potential to grow in the tourism sector.
Access to training by business operators who wish to send their staff for training remains a hurdle. The department has, to some extent, availed resources for training to individuals who have an interest in tourist guide training, foreign languages, and so forth. Training in the tourism sector need not only be available to post matriculants, but must be a practice that is entrenched from the early stages of child development, and from the primary school level, in order to promote and engender interest in the tourism sector in people from an early age.
Accessibility to tourist sites in the Northern Cape has proved to be problematic in spite of the growth of tourism industry. At the current juncture, there is only one airline carrier that ferries people to the Northern Cape. This contributes to the high-ticket prices, thus making it difficult for people to travel by air. In addition, the Northern Cape is the largest province in South Africa with a size of 361,830 km², which makes travel by road very daunting and undesirable to international and domestic travellers. Hence, growth in visits to the province is negatively affected by limited transport accessibility.
There is a lack of cooperative governance between the three spheres of government, which has also proven to be a bottleneck in the growth of tourism in the Northern Cape. The province seems to be affected by bureaucratic red tape issues. One of the matters that have yet to be addressed is the lack of road signage, which restricts access to roads. The establishment of the intergovernmental relations framework is the first step taken by the province to address issues of cooperative governance. This will allow the three spheres of government to work in partnerships to improve communication lines between municipalities and provinces, and national department.
In the Limpopo Province, nature reserves have taken centre stage as tourist attractions. This is evident in the development of the African Ivory Route, which includes a total of 54 provincial reserves. These reserves form an arch and follow the peripheral borders of the province along Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The province has further embraced the initiative by the private sector of promoting the golfing sport in order to enhance their tourism package. The province has also formed a partnership with Entabeni; and this partnership involves the combining of the Entabeni game reserve with the Doorndraai Dam Nature Reserve, with prospects of further developing the reserves as a tourist attraction.
The constant threats of mining activities to the vitality and growth of tourist attractions, such as Mapungubwe and Nylsvlei remains a problematic issue that requires government intervention and cooperation between relevant stakeholders. Both these sites are of national importance with one being a world heritage site and the latter a Convention on Wetlands of International Importance site (or RAMSAR in short). Lake Fundudzi, one of the few true inland lakes in South Africa has been threatened with extinction through the filling up of sand. There is a need for intergovernmental cooperation between the Department of Tourism and the Department of Environmental Affairs to resuscitate the lake for the benefit of securing this national resource, as well as ensuring rural development.
The access roads leading to attractions in rural areas such as the Fundudzi Camp and the Modjadji Cycad Forest are in poor shape and pose a big challenge. There is a need for cooperation between municipalities and provincial governments who need to understand the importance of upgrading roads in order to facilitate easy access for tourists. There is a need for municipalities to recognise the importance of tourism to the growth and development of municipal areas. Municipalities need to effectively consider tourism in the municipal Integrated Development Plan. There seems to be challenges with a conflict of interest and the confusion of roles and responsibilities, with regards to community representatives who are also public officials. The latter should be pioneering the implementation of programmes and resolve bureaucratic red tape issues.
Stakeholder engagement in Limpopo is not at optimal standard, especially in the rural areas where dissemination of information remains a challenge. It is important to note that in Limpopo, industry stakeholders seem to be organised and clearly understand the challenges to the growth of tourism in the province. The completion of the EPWP programme in the Cycad Forest remains a challenge. The grading of accommodation run as businesses do not seem to be run in a consistent fashion, as the status of some of the bed and breakfast places do not seem to correspond to the quality. There is therefore a need for the grading council to look into this issue as it has serious repercussions on the credibility of grading institutions.
The importance of intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance is in the forefront for the growth of tourism in the country. There is a need for the tourism national strategy to be filtered down to municipal levels in order to ascertain growth in the tourism sector. In the same vein, it is important to engender a culture of innovation and that can only come about if space is created for an integrated approach involving feedback from the municipalities, and other stakeholders. Education and training remains a critical component for the development and growth of tourism in the two provinces. Although the current state of affairs in the two provinces is not completely fulfilling, there is a huge potential for the two provinces to advance in the tourism sector. There is therefore a need for the tourism budget allocations in the provinces to be increased for this potential to be unlocked. This will significantly increase the contribution of tourism to job creation and sustainable livelihoods, as part of the key national priorities of Government.
In relation to the role of Parliament, the following could be considered:
· Working with provincial legislatures to oversee the blockages created by red tape issues, (such as signage, access to funding, etc.), as well as ensuring the accessibility of tourism initiatives to previously disadvantaged individuals.
· There is a need for parliament to advocate for the review of funding mechanisms to SMMEs, as current mechanisms are not as accommodating of SMMEs in the tourism sector.
· Joint committee initiatives on tourism should be undertaken to oversee the challenges, and develop recommendations for the growth and development of the tourism sector.
· A need to constantly engage with industry and communities on issues of tourism for the purposes of contributing to tourism growth and development.
The following members formed part of the delegation:
African National Congress
Mr D.M Gumede (Leaders of the delegation);
Ms X.C Makasi;
Ms T.J Tshivhase;
Ms J. Manganye
Congress of the People
Ms M.A Njobe
Inkatha Freedom Party
Ms C.N Zikalala
Mr J. Boltina, Committee Secretary
Ms J. Ntuli, Committee Researcher
Mr M. Vumzonke, Committee Assistant
In support of the national effort for development, the committee visited the Northern Cape and Limpopo from 26 July to 6 August 2010.
Part of the mandate of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism is to conduct oversight in its efforts to promote optimum benefits for the resources and capacities available to the three spheres of government.
The committee visited the two provinces, which are mainly rural that benefit the least from the industry, that is, at a national level. The committee felt that it was necessary to conduct a study tour so as to assess the nature of challenges and prospects for inclusive growth, particularly in the rural areas.
The committee’s visit is in line with the following points that are relevant to national priorities:
· Inclusive growth that creates decent jobs, promotes sustainable livelihoods with meaningful participation of the historically disadvantaged communities and individuals.
· Involvement of rural communities in tourism growth and development in the mainstream industry.
· Assess the skills development in the industry.
· Impact of crime and corruption in the industry and response thereto.
The following national priorities informed the committee objectives, which are:
· To prioritise the provinces, which least benefit from the tourism industry.
· To align and integrate tourism in the three spheres of government.
· To assess the level of stakeholder participation - both in the public and private sectors - and provincial support.
· To provide an analysis of the contribution of the sector in job creation, which look at challenges, opportunities, and possible alternatives.
· To assess support for cultural and heritage tourism growth.
· To implement the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and its outputs and outcomes.
· To provide support for sustainable livelihoods, such as that of Small, Micro, Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), co-operatives and individuals.
· To assess the performance of government institutions that are meant to support the industry and its stakeholders e.g. ESKOM, municipalities, roads and department.
· To meet relevant stakeholders like development banks, FET's, and universities, among others.
The briefing session conducted in Parliament on 16 March 2010 was the basis upon which provincial oversight visits were conducted. This provided a broad national perspective on the state of tourism in the provinces and the challenges experienced at provincial and municipal levels.
Subsequent to that session, the committee visited the Northern Cape and Limpopo provinces to conduct oversight in terms of the objectives outlined above. In an attempt to obtain a balanced view on the state of tourism in the provinces, the committee visited various cities and attraction sites in Northern Cape to ascertain their state of tourism and the challenges.
The areas visited in the Northern Cape and Limpopo are reflected in Table 2:
Northern Cape Province
27 July 2010
Sol Plaatjie District Municipality
28 July 2010
John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality
29 July 2010
Siyanda District Municipality
3 August 2010
Capricon District Municipality
4 August 2010
Vhembe District Municipality
5 August 2010
Mopani District Municipality
The process followed during the oversight visits included:
· Briefing sessions with district and local municipalities: Mayors outlined existing state of tourism and perspectives on challenges and opportunities.
· Three public hearings were held with tourism industry stakeholders.
· The committee undertook site visits to obtain first hand the challenges encountered by communities.
· Oversight visits were concluded by holding stakeholder engagement sessions which sought to work out the plan of government as a collective (local, provincial and national) on those issues raised by communities.
2. BRIEFING SESSIONS, SITE VISITS AND STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENTS
2.1 Briefing by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism
The department presented an overview of the status of provincial tourism. Economic growth rates improved steadily over the past few years and the contribution to gross domestic product was just over 2% in 2004. 92% of worlds’ reserves of iron ore and manganese are found in this province. The province has the highest concentration of available solar energy. The economy relies heavily on mining, agriculture and tourism.
The tourism industry in the province confronts the following challenges:
· The provincial tourism industry is vulnerable to economic down cycles.
· Emerging small tourism enterprises struggle for survival as they have to compete with more established tourism enterprises.
· Established tourism enterprises are unable to make significant contribution to provincial tourist attraction development and promotion.
· Lack of growth in arrivals and market share makes rapid provincial tourism industry development and transformation very difficult.
Some of the reasons for underperformance by the tourism sector in provinces comprise the following:
· Constrained access: Expensive air tickets, flight frequencies and capacity, types of aircraft used, underdeveloped small town airports travel by vehicle, lack of reliable rail-based passenger service and quality roads.
· Inadequate product development: General lack of maintenance, quality, diversity, attractions, activities, service excellence, geographical spread.
· Poor product packaging: Lack of cooperation between communities, and the government. The private sector generally leaves individual/s to undertake work with no support, and this creates a sense of isolation. No tangible product to sell and to leave visitors with a ’wow’ experience.
· Inadequate marketing and promotion: Insufficient brand building, over emphasis on exhibitions and advertising, lack of targeted selling approach and lack of efficient and effective tourist information distribution network.
2.2 Impact of the tourism industry development
· Tourism destination development projects for 2010/11 budget year will eventually create 100 permanent jobs as projects are introduced in the market.
· Tourism Business Development projects for 2010/11 budget year will eventually create 10 permanent jobs as clients further develop their product and market awareness is raised.
· In Siyanda Region: 10 accommodation venues were established in 1992 and 124 accommodation establishments in 2010.
· Black-owned small tourism enterprises: 12 in 1995 and 80 in 2010.
· The provincial tourism industry contributes on average of R1,5 billion to the Northern Cape economy, making it one of the most valuable economic sectors in the province.
· The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup had its impact in that the Kimberley and Upington airports were upgraded and the N12 from Johannesburg to Three Sisters was reconstructed. It was highlighted that the bad state of this route was a main reason for Kimberley’s tourism industry slowly failing and this factor in now no longer a concern.
2.3 Challenges facing provincial government
· Municipal capacity and slow responses as project implementers.
· Own capacity to implement projects and monitor progress in terms of staff numbers, skills levels and work environment.
· Community dynamics – internal and political – tear communities apart and prevent them from becoming self –sustainable. (Owning land is the short cut to real wealth but in these cases, the poverty trap is still strong).
· Management of Expanded Public Works Programme –style employment creation. Few people want to work for the rates paid.
· Road sign application process and Road Sign Manual prescriptions for N and R routes working severely against the needs of the tourism industry.
· Land-use zoning process delays impact on tourism development and especially the pace of tourism industry transformation.
2.4 Bloodhound and skateboarding
Bloodhound Super Sport Car (SSC):
The car is designed and built to achieve 1000 minutes per hour (mph) (1600 kilometres) on land. This would create opportunities for Education through its Science, Technology and Engineering initiatives.
The Track: The Northern Cape Province is to assist the Bloodhound Team to build the World’s Fastest Track at Hakskeenpan – 20 km (I) x 500 m (w).
Progress: A survey of the track has been concluded. An EIA study is currently being commissioned. Buy-in from the District and Local municipalities has been secured. The Departments of Education and Public Works were on board and the following elements were being investigated – preparation of the track; grading and maintenance; water tankers; camping facilities; maintenance camps; fencing; medical facilities and the erection of a grand stand (viewing platforms).
Skateboarding is the number 1 growing action sporting code in the world, which trumps other action sports when it comes to the number of participants, buying power of audience and the industry’s overall influence on pop culture, fashion, movies and music. For the past 10 years, while traditional sports participation has stagnated, the fastest growing sport in America has been skate boarding and has more than 9 million participants.
How does this benefit South Africa, and specifically Kimberley? The journey begins with a vision which allows for infrastructure development that will bring the youth of the country together. This could transform empty roads into a pathway for locals and visitors afar to gather at a central point of contact to witness the top international and local skaters competing, but will also allow them the time to interact and teach other aspiring skaters to be the next skateboarding champions of the world.
Kimberley will be at the forefront of this extreme vision by ways of the Maloof Money Cup Skateboarding Championships.
This vision comprises the following components:
· Contractual elements: event description – international world class skateboarding event; with two qualifiers to be held in the United States and the final in Kimberley, South Africa.
· Commitment to infrastructure development: Design and construction of 1 400 square meters skatepark, vert ramp and concert stage.
· Media partnerships objective: To secure media coverage to facilitate adequate ROI for sponsors.
· Awareness campaigns establishing the brand: With the high celebrity status of the event in the United States and the alignment of the Maloofs, their identity needs to be entrenched into the South African market place. This will take place in the form of a national road-show, and will be multi-dimensional and aligned to public relations strategy.
· Content production: The value of capturing every aspect of the event would create an unquantifiable asset in terms of broadcasting and merchandising.
· Merchandise economic opportunities: There are countless ways of creating merchandising opportunities, which will encourage local involvement.
This will require the support of many sectors, to ensure that it becomes a reality for Kimberley and the Northern Cape. At the national level, the following interventions are required to assist the Northern Cape:
· Actively assist with finding a sustainable solution to address the access constraints to the Northern Cape by road, rail and air.
· Actively assist to develop tourism management capacity and skills levels at municipal level.
· Actively and urgently assist to review the Road Sign Manual to mitigate is severely negative impact on tourism development and promotion.
· Actively assist to secure funding for the development of a network of gateway tourist information centres. Recommended locations are Steinkopf. Nieuwoudtville, Victoria West, Honover, Garies and Kuruman.
· Actively assist with bringing harmony to communities in land restitution areas and guide them in best ways to make their land work for their own wealth and pride.
· Actively assist to raise the importance of tourism as a valuable economic sector in the Northern Cape.
An overview of the key issues emanating from public hearings with stakeholders in the tourism industry in Kimberley, Kuruman and Upington, reflected the following:
In Kimberley, the stakeholders complained that the Restitution of Land Rights Act (Act No. 22 of 1994) is generally perceived by people as a good gesture of restoring the dignity of communities that were dispossessed. Such a gesture should heal the wounds, uplift the socio-economic standard of life and pave the way for genuine reconciliation. However, the moratorium placed on land is a challenge. Further challenges comprised the following:
· Training opportunities in the sector are inaccessible to many because of cost, geographic location or high level selectivity in admitting students to programmes and tourism training in higher education is assessed as having little industry relevance, and not adequately preparing people for the requirements of jobs.
· Lack of managing inter-departmental relations to support the tourism industry.
· Lack of feedback from government officials.
· Time taken is too long for people to get license permit.
· Registration of Guest Houses with MATCH.
· Tourist attraction areas: opening and closing time were not conducive to tourism.
· Tour Guide registration.
· Liquidation of businesses had increased by 10% because government takes too long to pay entrepreneurs.
· Attendance of international exhibitions – small businesses are taken to those exhibitions, yet there are no returns to their businesses.
· Market share is small because Northern Cape is inaccessible and it is very expensive to run a business.
· FET colleges.
· Lack of entertainment/there is lack of night life in Kimberley.
· SITA money / levies are inaccessible.
· Access roads are limited.
In Kuruman, the following concerns were raised:
· Ineffective community participation in Local Economic Development (LED) and Integrated Development Planning (IDP) processes was a crucial matter that emerged.
· Lack of development of the tourist attraction areas.
· Lack of employment opportunities for locals. Community complained that all constructors working in Northern Cape were from outside the province. Procurement benefits were enjoyed by people outside the province.
· Lack of infrastructure development, including access roads.
· There was a suggestion of tourism route development.
· Provincial government takes too long to approve projects, for example, one person made a point that he has been sitting with a project for five years, no government officials wanted to take a decision.
· Hunters were frequent in the Northern Cape but this was limited only to 7 days and 90% of them would end up in Cape Town or Kruger National Park.
· There was also a complaint that some areas in Kuruman lack cell phone networks.
· A proposal was made that there should a district coordination structure to coordinate the tourism activities in the at district level.
· Lack of adequate budget.
In Upington, the following concerns were raised:
· Stakeholders complained about the lack of tourism road signs. At some point, there was a meeting in Kimberley where the matter was discussed and there seems to be no movement on the part of the government.
· The museum is dirty and not maintained and tourists are not guided.
· Government takes too long to pay entrepreneurs for services rendered and as a result, this was impacting negatively on their businesses.
· There is no signage for attraction sites/areas.
· There is a challenge with street names.
· There is a lack of recreational facilities and as a result, the youth are heavily involved in alcohol abuse.
· Lack of communication between government and stakeholders, in that, 3 years ago, a submission was made for the department to provide tour guides to assist tourists. To date, there has been no response. The local community is not updated on developments.
· Parks are dilapidated due to a lack of maintenance.
· Lack of tourism information desks at the airport.
· Inadequate budget for tourism.
· The Black community submitted that they are not benefiting in anyway in Upington. Stakeholders have however noticed that what is developing is the increase in numbers of Somalians and Indians that have opened up businesses in Upington.
· Lack of access to facilities for people with disabilities.
3. Committee observations
Most of the issues raised during the hearing by tourism industry stakeholders revolved around poor governance systems. Some of the issues include: lack of accountability by relevant authorities; lack of communication between local, district, province and the stakeholders on matters of development in the province. At times, meetings are called and subsequently cancelled at the last minute. At another level, the Northern Cape is a vastly spread province and is mainly rural. As a result, limited financial resources of municipalities are unable to fund all the services required by stakeholders.
The process followed during the oversight visit in Limpopo Province included briefing sessions, site visits and stakeholder engagement.
The Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism submitted the Draft Revised 5 year Provincial Tourism Growth strategy. The strategy document outlines three areas for further consideration: the current tourism status; opportunities and interventions still to be realised; and will increase Limpopo’s competitive advantage.
Limpopo experienced a gradual growth in tourist numbers over the last few years. However, Limpopo is positioned as the fifth most visited province in South Africa and this indicates that there is still place for improvement. Hunting in Limpopo is seen as a major contributor to the number of tourist visits, length of stay and tourist spend. Historically, hunting has not been seen as a tourism sector, and therefore its contribution was not seen as important and therefore not included into the economic calculations determining growth. However, hunting’s contribution was determined and should be acknowledged within the context of Limpopo and therefore be integrated within the tourism growth strategy. Private sector and government invested in tourism infrastructure projects that enhanced the implementation of tourism growth strategy.
Tourism products were developed and/or upgraded through private sector and government initiates enhancing the tourism clusters. Tourism sector skills development programme implemented and capacitated 756 PDI’s. 150 businesses recorded to be owned by PDI’s. Tourism awareness created and two annual provincial events established the (Marula festival and the Limpopo Soccer Challenge). Limpopo recorded 773 registered tour guides; 1048 tourism establishments with 33229 beds, of which 47% have been graded. A provincial Tourism Bill has been drafted and promulgated as an Act in 2009.
The presenters noted the following opportunities and interventions that still need to be realised:
· The establishment of routes and basic infrastructure in rural areas still needs to be expanded and/or upgraded to ensure that tourists can safely travel to the remote corners of the province.
· The flow of tourists into rural areas will not only enhance Limpopo’s unique product offerings but will contribute to the growth of economic opportunities in these areas.
· Polokwane, as a Host City during the 2010 World Cup, opportunities were identified around the offering of more recreational and entertainment activities, and expansion on the shopping experience Polokwane currently has to offer, business tourism through conferences and events, organised sport tourism that has also been identified as one of the national tourism focus areas and the establishment of an effective tourism information and event management office.
· A major intervention and opportunity for tourism lies within the transport sector. This includes rail and air transport. An intervention strategy to increase the Airlift from and to Polokwane – linking with routes to SADC countries and visa versa will enhance the tourism strategy.
· It has been acknowledged that the communication between government and tourism industry is not at a desired level. It is known that to grow tourism, interactive liaison and cooperation between all role players are required. The streamlining of communication channels and the establishment of partnerships between government, the private sector and communities therefore requires further attention.
· The lack of implementing an integrated spatial and land use development plan on provincial level has led to various ad hoc developments that are in direct conflict with other land uses. This directly impacts on tourism planning and this needs to be put on the agenda as an issue that needs serious intervention at provincial and local government level.
Limpopo has the following tourism advantage:
A growing interest in natural heritage and opportunities to experience high-quality natural environments has been identified as important factors of competitiveness in the Travel and Tourism Industry. Limpopo’s competitive advantage as a tourism destination is based on its natural (scenic beauty, wilderness landscape and diverse wildlife), culture and heritage resources base and is therefore positioned to cater for this interest. This is substantiated by the following factors:
· 4.1 million (approximately 30%) hectares in Limpopo is dedicated to game farming and provincial nature reserves (48) that offer various consumptive and non-consumptive tourism opportunities.
· The Kruger National Park, South Africa’s prime eco-tourism destination adds an additional 1.9 million hectares to this natural experience.
· Three National Parks converge in Limpopo: the Kruger National Park, Marakele National Park and the Mapungubwe National Park (also part of the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site).
· Limpopo is also home to three registered UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, namely the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve and the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve.
· Limpopo is the furthertest part to two transfrontier conservation areas, namely the Greater Limpopo transfrontier conservation area and the Mapungubwe transfrontier conservation area.
· Limpopo has two Ramsar sites, 28 registered natural heritage sites and still many un-proclaimed cultural and natural areas.
· Furthermore, Limpopo is home to three national centres of endemism, namely the Soutpansberg Centre, the Wolkberg Centre, and the Sekhukhune Centre.
The indicators identified by the World Economic Forum to measure the competitiveness of the natural resources base of nations are determined according to the:
Number of UNESCO natural World Heritage sites.
· The total known species (animals, birds, and frogs) included on the IUCN Red List.
· Endangered species (as a % of total known species) on the IUCN Red List.
· Index of ratified environmental treaties (total number of treaties ratified by each country based on a sample of 25 most relevant treaties).
· Nationally protected areas (a % of the total land area).
Priority Tourism Projects
In order to cope with extremely limited resources against a requirement of approximately R3 billion to develop the much needed tourism infrastructure to realize the potential of tourism in the province, there is a need to facilitate large scale private investment, and projects had to be prioritized. The following criteria were used:
· The long term sustainability of the project.
· Important anchor project for tourism growth.
· Current status of the project.
· Potential job creation for PDI’s and SMMEs within the short and long term.
· Specialized maintenance and small upgrades to ensure a consistent quality standard on 12 provincial owned resorts.
· Critical nature reserve infrastructure required to support the tourism investment on the reserve.
· Community beneficiation and new landowner support to enhance the social impact of the project.
· The strategic link with the objectives of the tourism growth strategy.
Main challenges to overcome facing tourism in Limpopo province
· Using the existing (limited) marketing budget allocated for tourism, posed various challenges to enable Limpopo to optimise the opportunities offered through hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, not to mention the implementation of a desired marketing strategy for Limpopo.
· Prolonged land reform processes, linked to inadequate after care programmes in wildlife and tourism business sector hampers investment opportunities in tourism.
· Lack of adequate integrated land use planning at a provincial level resulted in uncoordinated development that directly impacts on provincial tourism icons and therefore on tourism growth.
· Lack of tourism units/managers within municipal structures hamper tourism planning and development at a local level.
· Poor secondary road infrastructure and proper signage impacts on the access to tourism products based in rural areas.
· Airlift – lack of low –cost airline services to Polokwane (direct flights to SADC countries) impacts negatively on tourist arrivals to Limpopo.
4. SITE VISITS
4.1 Greater Entabeni Safari Conservancy and Doorndraai Dam
The Entabeni Safari Project is a dream in the process of being realised to create a unique paradise using the ancient building blocks which historically occurred in the Waterberg. The aim of the project is to restore the full historic biodiversity of the area in a beautiful setting framed by the majestic Weterberg and the lake formed by the Doorndraai Dam.
The project is undertaken by merging the 12 500 hectares Entabeni Private Game Reserve and the public Doorndraai Nature Reserve of almost 8 000 hectares to create a 22 000 hectares nature reserve. The nature reserve would be expanded over time by adding adjacent private and public properties until it is able to cater for the full historic biodiversity of the area on an ecologically self-sustaining basis.
The project forms part of the Waterberg Savannah Biosphere Reserve and already offers all five members of the Big Five as well as an array of other wildlife. Currently, there are six (3 to 5 star) game lodges, game drives, scarce game breeding centre and a major golf estate built on the scale.
4.2 Nylsvley Nature Reserve (Ramsar Site Project)
This project was designated a Ramsar site in July 1998. Ramsar is an international convention that seeks to recognise and urge protection for globally important wetlands. The reserve is one of about 20 sites currently registered in South Africa and one of 1600 in the world and is also listed by Bird Life International as an ’Important Bird Area’.
Much of this recognition stems from the variety and abundance of waterbirds that are attracted to the floodplain during flooding. More than 100 waterbirds species have been recorded – more than that recorded in any other South African wetland. Many of these species are rare or highly localized elsewhere in the country. Nysvley is an important breeding ground for them in wet years and the 380 species recorded makes it one of the most bird –rich reserves for its size which is 4 000 hectares, in South Africa.
The committee was informed of the following threats to Nylsvley and its Ramsar status:
· Unrestricted development in the catchment area.
· Water (including human waste) being pumped into the Nyl River from Modimolle.
· Proposed prospecting for coal in catchment area.
4.3 Mapungubwe National Park (World Heritage Site)
The ancient city of Mapungubwe meaning ’hill of the jackal’ is an Iron Age archaeological site in the Province on the border between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is close to the point where Limpopo and Shashe Rivers meet. One thousand years ago, Mapungubwe appears to have been the centre of the largest kingdom in the African sub-continent.
Archaeological enquiry uncovered the remnants of numerous dwellings, which had been built on the ruins of predecessors over many generations, resulting in a serious of habitation phases. It is said that radiocarbon dates show that the first buildings were erected below the hill at the beginning of the 11th century AD.
Greefswald farm remained the property of the State from the 1930s. Management of the farm was taken over by the provincial Department of Nature Conservation in 1992 and control was transferred to SANParks in 1999. Mapungubwe was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in July 2003.
The park is also part of the proposed Transfrontier Conservation Area Initiative (TFCA), with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in June 2006.
4.4 Engagement with Nwanedi (Project) Community Representatives
Stakeholder concerns focused mainly on the following areas of service delivery:
· Expansion of tourism infrastructure and services.
· Upgrading of access roads to Gumela Gate.
· Upgrading of existing facilities to 3 star grading.
· Upgrading of tourist roads.
· Unresolved land claims. This poses a challenge because even those who wish to invest are unable to invest in the project.
· Training and Development programme for the locals to sustain the businesses.
· The road which is inaccessible does not belong to the municipality, but to the Provincial Government.
· Part of the challenge is that the land is a communal land, and once a portion is developed, a Chief will demand that developed area.
· New water purification unit.
· Rehabilitation of old mines.
· Hiking trails.
· Poaching is a challenge due to lack of rangers, those present are old people who were expected to retire.
· Marketing of the Nwanedi Resort is a challenge because it is located inside the Nature Reserve.
· The complex nature of the contract entered into between LIMDEV (Development cooperation) and the ’Black Tsepisi’ needs to be reviewed.
· Many complaints note that the ’White Tsepisi’ was only paying R46 000 per annum or royalties.
4.5 The African Ivory Route Safari Camps
The committee was informed that the province was running the programme to convert villagers and township residents into tourists by sending them on an adventure into their own country and culture. Tourism was not very popular in the province, especially among the black people. The aim is for the African Ivory Route to benefit its communities.
Of the ten cultural camps based in villages along the route, where tourists get to see traditional dances, eat local food, enjoy traditional music and storytelling, and interact with villagers, the committee was able to visit only two camps namely: Fundudzi and Modjadji Camps.
4.6 Meeting with community leaders at Fundudzi Camp
The following issues were raised:
· Stakeholders in the community complained that they were still waiting for the department to hand over the camp to the community as promised.
· The ownership, management and control of the camp is still a challenge.
· The size of the camp is not known by the community and there is no security in the camp.
· Water availability is a challenge.
· Lack of communication between the province, district and local level of government.
· There is a lack of infrastructure development, including access roads.
· Lack of maintenance.
· Budget allocation needs to be increased.
· Lack of clear marketing strategy of the camp.
· The community wants to make the camp traditional.
· It was also indicated that the Fundudzi Lake may run out of water in 3 to 5 years time. The lake is gradually being filled with sand now.
The community is of the view that the camp has a potential because it is enjoined by the sacred lake Fundudzi, the Holy Forest, the Thathe Dam and the tea estate.
The provincial department indicated that the government is of the view that the project should be handed over to the community once there is sufficient revenue for the project to sustain itself. Progress should be handled in terms of phases on the ground and the capacity available within the community. The government still believes that the project is not fully functional to be handed over to the community. The camps are currently operated by LIPSA on behalf of the community. LIPSA is a parastatal contracted to develop small businesses, and already there are 4 operations guide trained by the parastatal.
4.7 Meeting with community leaders at Modjadji Nature Reserve & Giyani Tourism Association
Key issues raised at Modjadji Nature Reserve:
· The cultural and traditional tourism can contribute to provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
· The project in the Nature Reserve is incomplete.
· The Royal Palace is dilapidating, with no improvement.
· The traditional offices are too small to accommodate many people.
· The Kraal was established in 1910 and has a rich history.
· Modjadji Lodge was donated by government 10 years ago and has not been maintained.
Key issues raised by Giyani Tourism Association:
· Lack of coordination and expansion of tourism and support infrastructure.
· Lack of enhanced route development link.
· Lack of development products.
· Packaging of the products.
· Lack of marketing strategy and information centres.
· The community expressed a need for the possibility of reopening the Giyani Airport.
5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
While the legal and policy framework for service delivery has been strengthened continuously since 1994, capacity and resource constraints continue to hamper implementation particularly at local government level.
The committee acknowledges that many of the challenges manifest themselves most directly at local government level, long term and fundamental solutions can only be found if all the three spheres of government work together.
At the same time, the committee recognises the critical importance of changing both the mindset and practical conduct of government and all the other social partners. Through such partnerships, the committee aims to ensure that tourism reaches new heights of growing the economy, reducing unemployment, poverty and promoting greater equity and social cohesion.
Therefore, as planned, the committee should return to these provinces to assess the situation in order to evaluate the progress made in relation to the shortcomings and challenges identified in various projects. This element of monitoring and evaluation should be an integral part of all future oversight visits as it is the only reliable way of ensuring the long term success and sustainability of the interventions proposed during these visits.
Once again, the department is called upon to establish a monitoring mechanism to assess progress in provinces and intervene with corrective and support measures where applicable.
Based on the stakeholder engagements, submissions by provincial authorities and site visits held, the following commonalities were identified and the committee recommends that:
· Institutional arrangements: The implementation of the Tourism Growth Strategy requires substantial institutional support and the Constitution defines tourism as a Schedule 4 competence, which means that national and provincial governments jointly have authority over tourism activities. This implies that national and provincial governments have the power to structure and arrange tourism at national and provincial adhering to the principles of cooperative governance. Tourism should be institutionalized at local government level.
· Tourism and Local Government: Local government does not have legislature and or regulatory powers pertaining to tourism, but local tourism is a local authority function. Local authorities are important contributors to the success of tourism activities in terms of community driven tourism philosophy. Their efforts should be coordinated within the provincial tourism strategy.
· Tourism Budgets: The successful implementation of the tourism growth strategy requires substantial financial resources. The current national and provincial tourism budgets are extremely limited and are not able to allow for the successful implementation of the tourism strategy. It also does not compare favourably with the budgets of other provinces. Innovative models will have to be found to supplement the current budget.
· Marketing: The committee found that using the existing or limited marketing budget allocated for tourism, posed various challenges to enable the provinces to optimize on the opportunities on offer.
· Strengthen partnerships: The provincial tourism industry has been identified as an important intervention to enable tourism growth. A provincial structure to enhance this partnership, and to create an effective communication channel between the different tourism structures in the province, is proposed to enhance the provincial growth strategy.
· Land Reform/Claims/Restitution processes: The prolonged land reform processes linked to inadequate after care programmes in the wildlife and tourism business sector hampers investment opportunities in tourism.
· Lack of adequate integrated land use planning: At the provincial level this aspect resulted in uncoordinated development that directly impacts on provincial tourism icons and therefore on tourism growth.
· Signage: Poor secondary road infrastructure and proper signage impacts on the access to tourism products based in rural areas.
· Airlift: Lack of low –cost airline services to Upington, Kimberley and Polokwane impacts negatively on tourist arrivals to these provinces. Provinces expressed the view that it is very expensive to travel both by air or road.
· Skills Development: The committee found that there is a need for dedicated resources to be set aside to recapitalize FET colleges to ensure that they develop and offer appropriate training programmes to support rural economies with tourism being at the centre of development. Need to support FET colleges and Sector Education and Training Authorities to be linked to with business, industry and other advanced education and training programmes.
· Small, Micro and Medium – sized Enterprises (SMMEs): All spheres of government should work towards strengthening competitiveness and promotion of SMMEs and cooperatives as they remain the cornerstone for growth of the economy and the creation of decent work opportunities. Government to facilitate market access and entry into value chain by small business and cooperatives and reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses.
· Provincial and Local Government capacity: The improvement of provincial and local government capacity to plan for and maintain infrastructure to ensure continued efficient delivery of economic and social services.
The committee would like to extend the special appreciation to the MEC responsible for tourism in the provinces, portfolio committees of the provincial legislatures, provincial Heads of Departments, projects managers and the rest of officials who provided support throughout the provincial oversight.
Report to be considered.
No related documents