South African Tourism 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan; with Minister


23 May 2023
Chairperson: Ms T Mahambehlala (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

SA Tourism

The Portfolio Committee told the Department of Tourism not to transfer any more money to South African Tourism (SAT) until all its vacancies were filled, its annual targets were revised, and the entity's leadership stabilised.

This followed the Committee's deliberations on the annual performance plans of SAT for the 2023/24 financial year, which it said were not satisfactory and that nothing of what was presented to it had been achieved. It said the Auditor-General's (AG's) report had highlighted the poor quality of financial reports, financial statements which contained multiple errors, and instability in the leadership of the entity, including vacancies in critical positions.

Another matter that surfaced during the deliberations was that the chairperson of the interim SAT board was conflicted because he was in the employ of the government advisory firm Consulum as a non-executive director -- a company which was at the centre for Africa Air Access. That was why assistance from Parliament would be sought on the matter.

In addition, when the Committee was deliberating on the newspaper article headlined: "Pulling the plug on MPs," it wanted to make it clear that it had never imposed itself on the invitation from SAT about a tourism event that was going to take place in New York, that the matter was never in its programme, and that it had not even been aware of the event.

SAT informed the Committee that its revised marketing prioritisation and investment framework was aimed at reviewing and updating the various parameters to ensure a robust view of the current business environment and market prioritisation. It also supported day-to-day decision-making through an enhanced view of increasing and tapping into short-term opportunities.

SAT provided details of its five programmes, and indicated that it planned to double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030.

Members commented that SAT's plans were not reflecting some of the issues raised in the Tourism Indaba; said the Tourism Grading Council for accommodation establishments should be established by the Minister of Tourism soon, because the matter had been raised many times; asked if there was training and development provided for tour operators, chefs, etc.; enquired if the Department was interacting with the Department of Education to ensure tourism was a subject in schools to get young people into the sector; and asked what the entity was doing about barriers to growth, like the visa regime and tourism safety and security. 

Meeting report

Briefing by SA Tourism (SAT): 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan

Ms Nomasonto Ndlovu, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SA Tourism, informed the Committee that in early 2020, it had reviewed the marketing prioritisation and investment framework (MPIF), using 2019 as the base year. The framework was based on 33 variables related to performance, outlook, ability of South Africa to win in the market, return on past investments, and other criteria. The revised MPIF was aimed at reviewing and updating the various parameters to ensure a robust view of the current business environment and market prioritisation; supporting day-to-day decision-making through an enhanced view on increasing and tapping into short-term opportunities; and transitioning key elements of the MPIF model to a power business intelligence environment, to enable easy access, navigation and usage.

She said watch-list markets were key to monitor, because SA Tourism needed to protect its previous marketing investments. This sought to build demand in second-tier markets that provide a pipeline for future growth, and that may diversify the portfolio of source countries to mitigate the risk of depending on only 24 markets to drive tourism recovery.

The 2022 to 2032 longer-term forecast predicted that travel and contribution of tourism to the global economy were expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.8%, which was more than double the 2.7% average annual growth rate estimated for the global economy. The world sector was forecasted to generate 126 million additional jobs in the same period. It was estimated that the performance of the sector in Europe could surpass the levels of 2019 in 2024, when travel and tourism's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the region could reach 4.1% above the pre-pandemic amount. Asia-Pacific was forecasted to be the first region to revert to the 2019 scenario in 2023, while other regions were estimated to recover completely in 2024. In 2022, as travellers’ confidence improved, the global travel and tourism sector was estimated to hasten its pace of recovery to 43.7% compared to 2021, and add a further ten million jobs. The sector was likely to return to pre-pandemic levels around the end of 2023.

Ms Ndlovu then took the Committee through the plans for the programmes of the entity.

Programme One - Corporate Support

The focus during this period would be implementing Operation Clean Audit projects; enhancing revenue and optimising costs; and driving transformation. It would also improve the risk maturity level by one level from the prior assessment, and the implementation of valid audit recommendations. Six supply chain management (SCM) ethics and integrity initiatives would be implemented. Action plans would be developed to address issues arising from the staff engagement assessment of prior years.

Programme Two - Business Enablement

The focus would be on digital transformation, the MPIF review and corporate branding. The Year 2 Roadmap of the integrated digital and analytics operating framework would be implemented. Five tourism information tracking surveys would be completed. The public relations (PR) and communications plan would be implemented, and a determination on the organisational baseline rating in the Best Company to Work for survey of SA Tourism would be done, and eight thought leadership pieces would be published.

Programme Three - Leisure Tourism Marketing

The emphasis would be on arrivals and spending from all MPIF markets, brand campaigns and growing emerging segments, domestic tourism, and value chain management. The Global Tourism Brand Campaign plan would be implemented. Three global tourism campaigns would be localised in South Africa, and two global brand collaborations and/or partnerships would be secured. 11 localised brand campaigns would also be implemented, including four regional, seasonal campaigns. Three domestic seasonal campaigns would be implemented -- the Sho’t Left Travel Week campaign, the Summer Deal Driven campaign, and the Easter Deal Driven campaign. The global advocacy programme and four quarterly tourism economic impact communication activities would be implemented.

Programme Four - Business events

Attention would be given to bidding, events, and market access. One domestic business-to-business (B2B) campaign and one global B2B campaign would be implemented. 93 bid submissions would be done. The plan was also to participate in six international strategic platforms. The hosting of the Travel Indaba of Africa 2023 would be re-imagined. Four business event bidding impact reports would be developed.

Programme Five - tourist experience

Efforts would be made in the areas of products, experience, and quality. The plan was to have 5 462 graded establishments and implement a product proposition roadmap. The three-year tourism value chain strategy would be developed, and 1 096 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) would be supported.

The entity planned to maintain an unqualified audit outcome. It also planned to double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030. The three-year tourism value chain strategy roadmap would be developed.

(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate budget allocations and the projected expenditure)


Deliberations newspaper article

In her introductory remarks, the Chairperson said the Committee had gathered amidst an article that had appeared in newspapers about pulling the plug on Members of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism. This had come after the SAT had invited the Committee chairperson to attend a meeting in New York where some icons of the country were going to be honoured, including the celebration of Freedom Day in SA. Upon receiving the invitation, she indicated that at least three members of the Committee should be invited as well, because she could not be the only one representing the Committee. This was an opportunity for the Committee to conduct its oversight. Hence three Members were required.

The invitation had been sent to the Chairperson of Chairpersons, who had asked many clarity-seeking questions, like who would be responsible for the bill. These concerns were relayed to SAT, but no response was received, so it became clear that no plug had been pulled on Members of the Committee because the New York gathering was never in its programme. The Committee rejected the article that appeared in newspapers, and maintained it would continue to do oversight without fear or favour.

Ms L Makhubela-Mashele (ANC) said the Members of the Committee needed to ask themselves what the intentions of the SAT were about the invitation to New York. The intentions were not sincere. The parliamentary processes dictate the House Chairperson process the application or the invitation. Parliament foots the bill for trips undertaken by Committee Members. The parliamentary process covers all matters related to logistics. That was why the letter was sent to the House Chairperson. She asked if the SAT was able to make the Committee understand the intention of the invitation. It could be that it wanted to say the Committee did not have the capacity to do its work. The Committee had never approached the SAT about getting an invitation to New York.

Ms M Gomba (ANC) said the trip to New York was never part of the programme of the Committee. The Committee Chairperson had only requested that other Members be allowed to be part of the trip. It appeared SAT was threatening the Committee and preventing it from playing its oversight role. The letter from the Committee should clearly state what the invite was all about and the parliamentary processes that had to be followed.

Mr A Matumba (EFF) said there was absolutely nothing newsy in the article, but a public relations exercise by people who wanted to be seen doing something about corruption. The invitation was something the former CEO had left the Committee with. SA had many offices outside the country, meaning a lot of money was spent. No one had known if these offices were still existing, because it was suggested the offices should be located in countries with SA embassies. So no plug had been pulled because the invitation was already cancelled.

Ms S Xego (ANC) remarked it was not the mandate of the SAT to make sure the Committee was always in the media -- its mandate was to market SA to the world. There was no interest from the Committee in undertaking a trip to New York. If the trip was cancelled, the Committee had to be updated. The Committee understood the parliamentary processes and was interested in oversight in countries where the SAT had offices. The Committee had been asking if the Department had representation on the board of SAT, because if it had representation, this would not have happened. However, no answer has been received from the Department about the matter. The SAT must not invite the Committee if it only wants to embarrass it.

Ms Patricia De Lille, Minister of Tourism, maintained a lot had been said about this matter and it was correct the invitation was sent by the former CEO, Mr Khumalo. The Chairperson of the Committee had formally responded to the invitation. SAT had written a letter to the Minister, requesting a sum of R600 000 for the other three Committee Members to attend the event in New York. She had told them about the parliamentary processes, hence the invitation was withdrawn. What was stated in the article was what she had told SAT. Regarding the Tourism Act of 2014, the procedures to be followed and the responsibilities of SAT were indicated there. It was not in the budget for the SAT to undertake the trip and to pay for the Committee members.

Ms Gomba asked for an explanation of why the SAT had sounded as if the Committee had forced itself to be taken to the New York trip by the SAT.

The Chairperson said the Committee would stand by its conviction on this matter and communicate to South Africans what had transpired, because this was a matter of importance.

Ms Ndlovu said she had received a letter from the chairperson of the interim SAT board which had clarified the matter. Early in April, the former CEO sent a letter of invitation to the Committee to participate in one of the biggest activities happening in New York. This followed comments from the Committee that the SAT was doing international work, but it was not visible. The invitation to the Committee was an opportunity for it to do its oversight work at an international event. There had been feedback on the clarity of costs, and a conversation between the chairperson of the board and the former CEO. The Committee had indicated it would participate if clarity was provided on funding. Unfortunately, the SAT did not have a board at that time, hence the matter had been relayed to the Minister. The invitation had intended to give the Committee an opportunity to do oversight on the international work the SAT was doing overseas. A follow-up letter had also been sent to the Minister, and it was later decided to withdraw the invitation seeing it would be impossible to conclude the logistics of the trip within seven days. After that, as an acting CEO, she was not privy to the communication between the Department and the board.

Mr M de Freitas (DA) said he had heard about the trip when a journalist called him. Undertaking such a trip would have compromised the work of the Committee, because a state-owned entity (SOE) could not invite a Committee on its trip.

Ms Gomba said the Minister owed the Committee an apology, because there was nothing that proved the Committee had been in the wrong or had bulldozed its way to be taken to the event in New York. This had dented the image of the Committee throughout the whole country.

The Chairperson pointed out it was the SAT that had sent an invitation to the Committee unprovoked. The intention could have been right, but the SAT later decided to withdraw the invitation due to processes that had to be followed. The Committee felt that no plug had been pulled. There was nothing wrong with sending an invitation to the Committee, which was then sent to the Chair of Chairs, who was the first point of reference. She said the Committee would still visit all of the nine hubs very soon, because that had been included in the Committee's programme. No sensational news articles would derail the Committee from its oversight work over the Department and its entities, and it would continue to execute its role without fear or favour. It had been the SAT that had withdrawn and pulled the plug. The article also raised many things which were good for the Committee -- it was the very same Committee that had stopped the Tottenham Hotspur deal.

Minister de Lille said she had proof that she had responded to the SAT invitation, and was aware the SAT had withdrawn it. The Department and SAT delegation would respond to the Members' concerns.

Concerning representation of the Department on the SAT board, she said the Department had no one on the interim board. Only when the board was permanent would the Department have a representative. That person gets appointed by the Minister to represent the Department.

Discussion on SAT APP

The Chairperson remarked that the APP was not reflecting some of the issues raised in the Tourism Indaba, and referred to the multilateral platform which was supposed to be addressed by the political principals on behalf of SA. She wanted to know about the programme to which Africa Air Access belonged because it was not on the APP. There was no need for the SAT to be on the programme for African countries, because that would be a breach of protocol and the Minister was there to represent everybody accounting to her. She said the Minister of Tourism should establish the Tourism Grading Council according to the Tourism Act, and that should happen soon because the matter had been raised many times. It had appeared as if the Tourism Grading Council was a subsidiary of the SAT.

Mr Tim Harris, chairperson of the SAT interim board, said Africa Air Access did not appear in the APP, but was covered in programme three of the SAT. There was a lot of work that needed to be done right on Africa Air Access. It was a critical factor that was needed to recover tourism.

Ms Ndlovu added that Africa Air Access was not a set mandate, and they were supporting all the initiatives from the provinces. She added that considerations on the Grading Council had been made in 2015. There had been approvals by previous Ministers, and the entity was alive to the challenges that were arising currently. The Minister would provide guidance on how they should move forward.

Mr De Freitas wanted to know what criteria were used to classify the different growth markets; enquired if research had been done to show the expenditure of these markets locally; asked how tracking surveys were undertaken; enquired if the Department was interacting with Department of Education to ensure tourism was a subject in schools in, order to get young people into the sector; asked how the 93 number on bid solutions had been reached; and enquired how the number of 5 000 grading establishments was arrived at.

Ms Ndlovu said specialist service providers did surveys in collaboration with key stakeholders like the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), which provided them with data. Global companies that they subscribed to also provided them with data.

She was aware that the tourism sector needed young people, but they had not engaged the Department of Basic Education. An academy for tourism had been identified to attract young people into the sector. The SAT was engaging with tertiary institutions and other stakeholders on this matter. For the Tourism Indaba, they had recruited students to participate in the event so that they would get exposure to the industry.

On the categorisation of markets, they looked at 33 variables that were used to analyse so that they got to the point where they ended up with different market categories. The variables specify what the potential was in the growth market. A robust kind of work was done to ensure there were markets to focus on and to tailor-make the strategies for the various categories.

Concerning research spend per country, she said they had information on the spend per traveller in those markets in each of the countries they targeted. When tourists were in SA, the same kind of research was utilised to see where they spend their money. They also look at a variety of dimensions of arrival spending, and there was data on this matter that dates back to two years ago.

Ms Gomba wanted to know if the SAT had done data collection for the grading of establishments in the previous years; if there was training and development provided for tour operators, chefs, etc.; and if South Africa's work was compared against international standards to ensure they met goals even if they were not same the same as those of their counterparts, and what made them fail to market SA. She remarked that if the SAT wanted to be the best in tourism in SA, they needed ethical officials because Ms Kholeka Zama, a board member, had lied to Parliament during the Tourism Indaba, contravened parliamentary regulations, and broken the Batho Pele principles. Therefore, she implemented the decisions of the board. She had proposed the Committee write a letter to the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and report the conduct of their representative. She wanted to know from Mr Harris what he had meant when he said he would attend the Committee meeting when it was official. She reminded him he had not reported his apology directly to the Committee, but Ms Zama had only relayed it.

Mr Harris said the board had met on 27 April, and he had asked Ms Zama to write a letter to the executive to report on the decisions taken in terms of the delegation of authority (DOA) since the day the board was appointed. On 5 May, a board decision was taken to withdraw the DOA for a review to understand how the organisation was operating. On 9 May, regarding the board resolution, the DOA was allocated back to the staff, and the only thing the board had retained were legal matters and other things related to the board.

Ms Ndlovu said the grading of targets was done yearly. They looked at the numbers from previous years to see what information was available. Grading assessments were done every year. Benchmarking was done with other destinations, and they had also become benchmarks for others. A strategy was approved last year for the grading criteria. The focus this year would be on implementing the approved strategy. They were looking at mandatory verifications and creating awareness around these matters. The grading model was being reviewed. The industry has looked at various categories of grading and criteria. Feedback and consultation sessions were done with the sector.

Ms P Mpushe (ANC) asked the SAT to furnish the Committee with the domestic tourism strategy, provision of details on the integrity and ethical standards, a detailed plan on global brand collaboration, details of the locations for events in small dorpies and townships, and details of the list of SMMEs supported. She asked if there were limitations on filling the vacancies, seeing that 8% was the target; if the 2023/24 targets meant the 2022/23 had been dealt with, where the Easter Deal campaigns and Sho't Left campaigns were going to be held; how the SAT worked with overseas hubs; what was limiting the board in appointing a board secretary instead of allowing a secondment from the Department; and what the relationship between Brand SA and SAT was. She remarked that the presentation had been silent on the Transformation Council; asked what the capabilities deficiencies were that made the Department outsource; when the permanent CEO was going to be appointed; when the next steps would be taken after the board chairperson had revealed allegations against the acting CEO; why Mr Mntambo was not allowed to attend the 9 May committee meeting, seeing that the Minister had stated it was an error to gazette Mr Harris as a member of the board, because Mr Mntambo had declined; and wanted to find out why the Minister and the board had not allowed Mr Khumalo to serve his resignation notice.

Mr Harris said Mr Khumalo had stated in his resignation letter that his preference was to resign with immediate effect.

Ms Ndlovu said the domestic strategy was about what they were doing within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because it was quicker to get to SA when these countries got given packages.

On the 8% vacancy rate, she said there was a moratorium on hiring, and that was the target within the government. They had engaged with the board and the Minister to assist them.

She said SMMEs were identified through a process when they put out invitations for requests for proposals (RFPs), and many SMMEs were supported during the Tourism Indaba. She added that global brand collaboration did happen, just like the Hugh Masekela project to market the product. This went for other projects like Sho't Left, Easter Deal campaigns, etc. She said the SAT worked with the overseas hubs through a division called Embassy Liaison. Liaison officers identify opportunities in the destinations. A structure was in place with plans, and collaborations were done with missions and consul generals (CGs).

Regarding working with Brand SA, she said there was an open-door policy at the operational level. There was a project where the SAT would collaborate with Brand SA, and it would not be the first time the two entities would work together. There had been an open conversation on collaboration about marketing SA during the Rugby World Cup.

Ms Xego wanted to know what the stance of the Minister was on the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) policy that had been challenged. She remarked it was not acceptable to have an acting board and acting officials in critical positions, because this would raise eyebrows and the possibility of no stability within SAT; suggested that some officials who had been serving for a long time should be retained to preserve institutional memory and stability; asked if the previous Ministers had updated the Minister on the plan to address issues raised by the AG; enquired if it was possible to reach the target of 21m tourists to SA by 2030; and commented that the contribution of the entity towards job creation had not come out clearly during the presentation.

Ms Ndlovu responded that they had had a series of engagements with the industry regarding the 21m target of arrivals by 2030. The SAT had looked at Delta Airlines and what had happened after Covid-19. The target had not changed. It was envisaged that 16m arrivals would be received by 2030, and the industry has confirmed this. There were things that would need to be done, like advocacy, mega events and strategies, marketing, etc, to ensure the target was met. Job creation was not in the APP, but the work that was done impacted job creation.

Minister De Lille said she did not have a stance on BBBEE because they were all subject to the same laws.

Ms S Maneli (ANC) asked Mr Harris to explain how he classified an official meeting, because the Committee had invited him to an official meeting of the Committee in Durban. She also reminded Members that whatever they said in the Committee was under oath and could be used for or against them, because Ms Zama had lied to the Committee. She asked what the focus was relating to the market investment framework; what the entity was doing about barriers to growth, like the visa regime and tourism safety and security; how far the entity had gone to address the matters the AG had raised in the previous audit; if all the board meetings were physical or virtual; and what reputational damage had been picked up after Tottenham Hotspur saga through the brand tracking mechanism. 

Mr Harris apologised for not being in the Committee meeting in Durban.

Ms Ndlovu said the domestic market was an important area of focus and had performed very well pre-Covid-19. The SAT was ramping up its marketing efforts on domestic matters. She admitted the organisation had been limping after the Tottenham Hotspur saga, but had a plan to get out of the situation.

Ms Makhubela-Mashele said there had been a decline in accommodation establishments or products choosing not to grade. This was related to quality assurance and getting reviews on how the product had been packaged. She asked if the entity was able to quantify an increase in the revenue or return on investments brought about by some brand platforms like the African Travel Indaba, the Tourism Indaba, etc. What did the entity actually want to see before revising the strategy on visitor arrivals, because it had to be practical?

Ms Ndlovu said that during the Tourism Indaba they had taken a different approach to grading to show it was something valuable for the products. The Tourism Indaba was performing ahead of the other brand platforms in terms of numbers. The numbers had been increasing and there had been an interest. This showed they were recovering from Covid-19. There was a positive trajectory and many new products were launched during the Tourism Indaba.

Mr Matumba wanted to know if the chairperson of the interim board was still working for the government advisory firm Consulum, and if so, what about the conflict of interest because during the Tourism Indaba the chairperson had spoken of an article he wrote for Consulum, using the platform to advance the interests of the firm. He further stated that Ms Zama had lied to the Committee, saying the board had withdrawn the letter and delegated all the powers to the officials. During the 9 May Committee meeting, the Committee had learnt the board had taken all the powers away from the officials, so she lied to the parliamentary Committee, which was a statutory offence. Parliament needed to take action on the matter, because it was punishable. If Parliament was misled, this meant it had been defrauded.

He also commended the SAT on its marvellous work when he attended its two events in Johannesburg and Durban. Its work had met international standards. The resignation of Mr Khumalo indicated they had lost black excellence.

On the output regarding SAT's best place to work culture, he said what had been presented in the meeting and what the board had been doing was contradictory. The AG had indicated the problems in SCM resulted from the powers that had been taken from the officials. The board was the actual SAT, because it implemented and did oversight on itself. The acting CEO had presented things she knew she would not be implementing. It was not acceptable to have an acting CEO without any power.

He said the entity was not doing well on B2B. In the last meeting, it had been indicated that the office of the AG must use its powers in dealing with the entities.

Regarding board meetings, he wanted to know which meetings were special and normal between the ones held on 6 and 9 May. If a meeting is special, there must be a request. He asked the Committee to be furnished with a list of all the meetings to see if they met legal requirements regarding the Tourism Act.

Mr Harris said section 14 of the Tourism Act dealt with special meetings. There was a mechanism for special meetings to be called by the chairperson of the board, and there were no restrictions on that. He had worked in many places around the continent, advising organisations to develop strategies on Africa Air Access, and had written articles on that. This was a great opportunity for SA to return to the pre-Covid period regarding the airports in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. He said the procurement plan had been approved, and its implementation was the responsibility of the management. He added that he was a non-executive member of the Consulum board.

Ms Ndlovu said the output on 'Best to Work for Culture' was a vision they wanted to achieve. The start was to see how things could be improved internally going forward so that staff members could be ambassadors of the entity.

Mr Victor Tharage, Director General, Department of Tourism, said a submission on B2B had been made in the last meeting with the Committee.

The Chairperson said the AG had indicated the achievements of the medium term strategic framework (MTSF) targets on tourism portfolio were measured by their direct contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), job creation, international tourist arrivals, total tourist direct spend, and domestic tourism. In what had been presented to the Committee, nothing had been achieved. The AG's report pointed out many irregular occurrences and key targets that were not achieved by the SAT. These included the implementation of the tourism equity fund, the incubation programme to support tourism SMMEs, support for womens' tourism projects in the provinces, implementation of the tourism monitors programme, the brand strength index, impact of the targets, and number of day-trips. The Minister should familiarise herself with the AG's report. She said the presented APPs were not satisfactory to the Committee. The AG had highlighted the poor quality of the financial reports, the financial statements had contained multiple errors, and there was instability in the leadership of the entity, including vacancies in critical positions. The Committee was considering the APPs amidst this quagmire. Instability had been a hindrance to matters of accountability, oversight, and governance in the tourism portfolio and the entity itself.

She said the Committee whip was of the view that the Department must not transfer the budget to the entity until all vacancies were filled, its targets were revised, and delegations of authority were re-instated back to the executive, because one could not be a referee in an institution that was ailing already. She said the state capture report had indicated Parliament was lacking in its oversight role, and asked the entity to give good reasons why the Committee should support the APP.

Department's response

Minister De Lille said she wanted to be given time to respond to all the questions the Members had raised. They had taken notes and wanted to listen to the tapes and be able to respond to all the questions, especially those they did not have answers for. She indicated that Committee Members were aware of what the Department had inherited. She had read all the Committee reports, including those of the previous Ministers. She asked to be given more time so that she could deal with all the questions.

Mr Tharage confirmed that a transfer had been made to the entity on 3 May to the tune of R550m.

The Chairperson pointed out that on 9 May in Durban, Ms Zama had made a submission to the Committee that two board members would attend the Committee meeting when it was official. Mr Harris had come to the Committee and stated something contrary, saying he had instructed Ms Zama to execute the work. It was not acceptable to have people coming to Parliament to tell lies. The Committee had agreed that Brand SA must be under the Department of Tourism to market the country and share responsibilities with the SAT, because both entities had the same mandate. She was unsure if Mr Harris had used the Tourism Indaba for nefarious reasons, and still did not know why he had chosen that platform to promote Africa Air Access.

Minister De Lille emphasised the need to acknowledge many challenges had been inherited, including the matters raised by the AG. The entity must be given a chance to provide solutions to these challenges which have accumulated over the years. Answers would be submitted in writing. She said she had met with the President, the Deputy President and the AG. SAT and the Department should brief the Committee on how they plan to implement the economic recovery plans. The Department had consulted with the Minister of Transport on tourism licences, and a joint statement would be released soon because there was a plan. She had consulted with the Minister of Home Affairs on visas. The Tourism Equity Fund issue had been resolved, and this would be presented to the Committee. The Department was attending to the audit matters raised by the AG. She added that the Department should also play a critical role in job creation.

Mr H April (ANC) said that when Minister De Lille asked to leave the Committee room to attend to another matter, the Minister was free to go because the actual Minister was Mr Tim Harris.

Mr Matumba remarked that Mr Harris had admitted he still worked for Consulum. What he was doing was a direct conflict of interest, because he worked for both SAT and Consulum, which did the same thing. Ms Zama had been asked to write a letter, something which Mr Harris could have done himself.

Ms Makhubela-Mashele commented that the chairperson of the SAT board was at the centre of making sure the African Air Access strategy became a success so that he would profit from the whole thing. This was a conflict of interest. It is human nature to participate when one sees an opportunity to uplift one's business. She proposed the Committee should get records of the company that Mr Harris worked for so that Members could get legal advice on the matter, because he was going to advance his company's business interests.

Minister De Lille said she was prepared to listen to the concerns of the Committee if they were submitted to her in writing so that she could respond. She would like to investigate the allegations.

The Chairperson said she had not received any complaints from the Members. Mr Harris had stated that he was a non-executive director at Consulum. The Minister would be afforded an opportunity to respond in writing. During a TV interview, she also made it clear that Mr Harris was going nowhere.

She said the Committee had resolved that the approval of the APP should be on the basis of the revised targets, and the Department should not transfer money to the entity any more, because it had transferred 53% of its budget to the entity. The Committee had noted with dismay the conflict of interest that was there because the chairperson of the board was a non-executive director of Consulum, which was at the centre for Africa Air Access. That was why assistance from Parliament was sought, even on the matter involving Ms Kholeka Zama, who had lied to the Committee.

The Committee was of the view that Brand SA should be under the Department to avoid duplication of responsibilities with SAT. It further resolved that the Minister should establish the SA Grading Council as mandated by the Tourism Act; it stated that it never imposed itself on the invitation from the entity for a trip to New York, and it was not aware of such a programme.

The meeting was adjourned.

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