Tourism BRRR


25 October 2022
Chairperson: Ms M Gomba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Budget Review & Recommendations Reports BRRR

The Portfolio Committee on Tourism convened on a virtual platform to deliberate on its 2021/2022 Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) for the Department of Tourism and entity.

During the discussion, Members highlighted the issue of safety and security for tourists concerning the murder of a German tourist in Mpumalanga, and urged the Minister and the Department to give timeframes for when the issue of safety would be addressed. The Committee expressed disappointment at the lack of a proactive stance and spirit in tackling those challenges in the tourism sector.

Many issues pertaining to the tourism sector require inter-departmental collaboration, which a few Members described as lacking at present. Those issues included the employment of foreign nationals and South African nationals in the tourism sector, safety and security for tourists, infrastructural maintenance and preservation at tourists’ sites, and nomad digital visas or E-visas for tourists.

Other concerns were raised over the distribution of tourism permits for operators, the expanded public works programme's (EPWP's) tourism projects, the ghost town state of the Durban beachfront, which had seen a significant drop in tourists this year, the lack of toilets at rural tourism attractions, as well as the lack of tourism investment and development in rural areas.

Members requested an update on the amendment to the tourism grading policy, and supported the empowerment of women and youth in the tourism sector, the incubation programme for informal tourism businesses, and the boosting of domestic tourism.

The Committee agreed that irregular expenditure required the Department’s urgent attention, and that those involved in supply chain irregularities must be held accountable.

Meeting report

Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism


Mr K Sithole (IFP) indicated that he and Mr M De Freitas (DA) had not received any of the documents that were to be discussed in the meeting.

Dr Sibusiso Khuzwayo, Committee Content Advisor, requested that his team would be able to gather all the inputs by the end of this meeting.

Due to the length of the report, which consisted of 65 pages, he said that with the Committee’s permission, he would skip the other sections and go straight to the Committee’s observation section.

He read the observation section for Committee Members.


The Acting Chairperson said that the report did not make note of the Committee’s comments on shifting the employment pattern in the tourism industry. The Committee was of the view that there was an imbalance of employment opportunities in the tourism sector that needed to be addressed because more nationals from South Africa’s neighbouring countries were working in the sector, and were thus contributing to the high unemployment amongst South Africans. The Committee had highlighted the issue a few times but was concerned that no improvement had been made on the issue. She particularly noted the lack of commitment of other government departments to work with the Committee to collaboratively address the issue.

She said the Committee was not happy with the distribution of tourism permits for operators in the country.

She had also not seen mention of Members’ dissatisfaction with the expanded public works programme (EPWP) tourism projects in the report.

Mr H Gumbi (DA) said the issue of tourism grading had been mentioned on numerous occasions, and had been discussed in length. He therefore sought clarity as to whether the policy had been amended, and if that was reflected in the report.

Mr A Matumba (EFF) highlighted the issue of tourists’ safety and security, and suggested that the Committee give the Department a concrete timeframe for when those recommendations were to be completed. He felt that the Minister was undermining the Committee.

The Acting Chairperson understood Mr Matumba’s concern, and supported his suggestion about the timeframe. She endorsed his view that the Department had not provided the Committee with a satisfactory solution, which was a fact. She also noted that some Members had made recommendations, such as doing EPWP training to assist in dealing with the safety and security issue for tourists.

Ms H Winkler (DA) added that the report should include the Committee’s question to the Minister of Tourism on why it had taken so long to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for South African Tourism (SAT). Why had the Minister not assented to the recommendation made by the SAT board on the appointment of a new CEO?

Ms Winkler highlighted the issue of a digital nomad visa, or e-visas targeting the tourism market. She understood that to achieve that task, the Portfolio Committee would have to interact with the Departments of Home Affairs, the Police, and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as they all had roles to play in the process. She lamented the poor coordination of inter-departmental communication and engagements, as each department cared only about its own work. The outcome of such a lack of communication was that tourists were victims of crimes, as evidenced by the murder of a German tourist and an infrastructural collapse. During an oversight visit to Durban, she described the ghost town state of its beachfront this summer as unprecedented. Given the current state, she felt that the tourism authority did not have a plan of action nor strategies on how to market to attract more tourists.

The Chairperson noted Ms Winkler’s inputs and indicated that the KZN disaster might have contributed to the decline of tourism in the province. However, she agreed that the infrastructural issue must be attended to to attract more tourists and boost the industry.

Mr Matumba added that the issue of information technology (IT) governance and the digital tourism industry was not covered in the report. He flagged it as a serious issue.

He stressed that the Department’s support and promotion of women in tourism must be included in the report.

He emphasised the importance of the incubation programme in its role to formalise the informal tourism business. He said the incubation programme must work hand in hand with those informal tourism businesses, because so many of them were not formalised and were suffering as a result of that. COVID-19 has shown that informal tourism businesses were ineligible to get any financial assistance because of their informal nature.

Mr Matumba indicated that the tourism monitoring programme must be in-sourced and employees working for the Department. He suggested that the Department could try consider the option of putting those workers on a contract-basis before then exploring the possibility of making them permanent.

He said that the hospitality youth training programme must be implemented.

He raised concern about the lack of toilets in rural tourist sites which posed a significant hygiene issue. He noted that there was a "toilet revolution" programme in China, and saw no reason South Africa could not do the same.

He stressed the importance of developing tourist attraction sites in rural areas and traditional sites in Durban and Cape Town. For instance, there were plenty of potential tourist sites in Limpopo which could be developed with a huge potential to attract more tourists.

The only thing government could do to address the imbalance of employment between foreign nationals and South Africans in the tourism sector was to implement a minimum wage. He urged Committee Members to understand that it was not only South Africans who suffered from unemployment, as foreign nationals also suffered the brunt of being underpaid and exploited. He suggested the Committee work with the Department of Employment and Labour to enforce compliance.

Mr Matumba said that the implementation of market development strategies for domestic tourism had to be included in the report. He highlighted the importance of standardising the quality of tourist service. He remarked that it should not be acceptable that sub-standard service be provided for tourists, as it would shed a negative light on the country as well.

Mr De Freitas suggested the Committee should review the recommendations that had been made in previous years and monitor the progress of their implementation. He was aware that there were issues that still had not been addressed.

Concerning his colleague’s remark on inter-departmental coordination, he commented that some government departments suggested to work with the Committee were not cooperating. He suggested that a forum should be set up for all relevant departments to communicate with each other and the Committee to ensure coordination.

Ms P Mpushe (ANC) agreed with and supported Mr De Freitas’s view on reviewing those previous recommendations.

She was of the view that the Committee should take a firmer stance against irregular expenditure, and that it should do more than follow up. The Committee had to call for the Department to have consequence management or corrective measures in place to deal with those involved.

Regarding the supply chain, instead of preventative measures, the Committee should call on the Department to ensure that officials who were responsible should face the might of the law.

The Acting Chairperson was aware of the keen interest of Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) in tourism and sought her input.

Ms Makhubela-Mashele replied that she had nothing to add to the report, and supported it.

The BRRR report was duly adopted.

Committee matters

Committee minutes dated 18 October were duly adopted.

Mr De Freitas felt that the physical meeting that the Committee had last week was more productive than virtual meetings. He was aware that Parliament’s committees were competing for a limited number of venues, but he nevertheless suggested that the Committee try to conduct more physical meetings in the future.

The Acting Chairperson said that Parliament was trying to work on that, but just needed to consider time and space. She would also want to see physical meetings taking place more regularly in future, and fully supported his view.

The Committee Secretary said that the Committee had already made this intention clear to Parliament. Further, it was only today’s meeting that was taking place on the virtual platform. He assured the Committee that the remaining meetings of the Committee would be physical.

The meeting was adjourned.


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