Hansard: NA: Mini-Plenary (Debate on Vote 38 )

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 24 May 2023


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Watch: Mini-Plenary (Debate on Vote 38 )


Members of the mini-plenary session met in Committee Room M46 at 15:01.

The Acting Chairperson Mr S O R Mahumapelo took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.



Debate on Budget Vote No 38 – Tourism:

The MINISTER OF TOURISM: Good afternoon, goeie middag, molweni, Hon Chairperson, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee and Hon members, Director-General of the Department of Tourism, SA Tourism interim board, tourism stakeholders, members of the public and members of the media,
it gives me great pleasure today to deliver the Budget Vote for the 2023-24 financial year as we are already in full swing post the pandemic recovery period for this important sector in our country.

South Africa is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and some of the most iconic landscapes in the world, a mix of cultures and tourism offerings and our greatest asset, the warmth of our people. Over the past three months, I have been inspired to see the passion and vigour with which the stakeholders in tourism are committed to growing tourism in South Africa. Tourism is a key part of our economy and there is still much-untapped potential to take the sector’s performance to greater heights with greater economic contributions and more jobs for our people. Over the past three months, I have been engaging with players from across the tourism sector to learn about what key constraints are preventing further growth and associated opportunities.

My engagements with the sector have also been focussed on how the government and all partners in the private sector can work together to find solutions to grow this sector. We must look into the future and present with a clear vision to get tourism
classified as an industry and not just a sector and it must be measured as such, and I think we need to debate this. We must also focus on the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and also the Tourism Recovery Plan.

Between January and December 2022, South Africa saw nearly 5,7 million visitors, with 4 million of those visitors coming from the African continent gracing our shores. This was an increase of 152% compared to the previous year. In Quarter 1 this year from January to March 2023, international arrivals amounted to 2,1 million, which is a 102,5% increase when compared to the same period in 2022. The African continent led the way again with 1,6 million arrivals, followed by Europe's
387 000 and the Americas' 104 000 visitors. Although we have seen growth, we are still not out of the woods because we are 21% below our 2019 figures for quarter 1.

In the first quarter of 2023, foreign direct spending soared to an astounding R25,3 billion, marking a 143,9% increase compared to Quarter 1 of 2022. This figure is close to the R25,6 billion spent between January and March 2019 and showcases the industry's unwavering resilience. In Quarter 1
of 2023, the top source markets were; Zimbabwe maintained its status as South Africa's top source market, a trend consistent with 2019; Mozambique followed as the second-largest source market, boasting over 354 000 arrivals between January and March 2023; Lesotho and Eswatini, taking the third and fourth spots, respectively; The United Kingdom claimed the fifth position, with more than 118 000 arrivals in South Africa between January and March 2023, a decrease from 135 000 in 2019.

For 2023, as South Africa we have secured 10 bids for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, Mice, events which will contribute to the geographical spread of business events. There was a 12,3% increase in Mice taken during January and March 2023. The Deputy Minister will further elaborate on the Mice strategy. The secured Mice events include the International Congress of African Phytomedicine Scientific Society, the Southern African Neurological Association Conference and the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry UFI Global Congress, just to name a few. The various events will be hosted in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, Mokgopong, Muldersdrift and Pietermaritzburg. The last statistic
according to the United Nations World Travel Organisation, UNWTO, the sector’s swift recovery has continued into 2023 and the overall statistics show that. Overall, international arrivals according to the UNWTO reached an 80% recovery in the first quarter of 2023 with African countries showing an 88% recovery rate since 2019.

Before I get into the Budget Vote in numbers, I wish to share with the House and public the key priorities according to the performance agreement given to me by the President and signed on 6 April 2023. I am committed to reaching the targets and achieving success on these priorities and I have made it clear to the department and all stakeholders that we can only achieve this together. Ultimately these priorities are geared toward growing the tourism industry in South Africa, increasing its economic contribution and increasing the number of jobs created in this sector.

These priorities are Priority 1, converting the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan into the Master Plan with clear interventions to increase the volume and value of domestic and international tourism. This is being finalised for completion in the next few months. The implementation of the Tourism Sector Master Plan
will focus on enhancing destination marketing and working with all stakeholders including major global tech companies, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, TBCSA, the aviation sector, major hotel groups and the township tourism associations amongst others.

The second priority is to improve the e-visa turnaround time for tourists. I am working with the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on this and met with him in my first week in office. We agreed a lot needs to be done to improve the ease of applying for e-visas and the turnaround time for applications.

We must have a harmonised visa regime across the continent to make it easier for visitors to move from one country to another. In this regard, South Africa has visa waivers for several African countries for a specified period and up to a maximum of 90 days, particularly in the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, countries such as Tanzania, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Mauritius, Malawi and Botswana. The e-visa system was initially launched for 14 countries and this has been expanded by another 20 countries.
Priority 3, improve the turnaround time for tour operator licences. Earlier this month, I met with the Minister of Transport where she shared the Department of Transport’s work in this regard. We both agreed to push this work even harder to eradicate barriers and backlogs. The Department of Transport cleared the previous backlog of operating licences in September 2022. I have appealed to tourism industry stakeholders that we must work together to resolve the matter of the tour operators who have not collected their licences. Currently, we’ve got 418 applications in the system that are being attended to by the Department of Transport. Minister Chikunga and I will continue working on this matter and continue to eradicate obstacles to tour operator licences.

Priority 4, unlock the implementation of the Tourism Equity Fund, TEF. I have already started working on this and I have intervened by consulting with the state attorney and senior counsel, we reached an agreement in an out-of-court settlement and this was finalised on 26 April 2023. We are now finalising the concept and criteria for applications to the Tourism Equity Fund within the existing BBBEE legislation and also the Tourism BBBEE codes. This will unblock R1,42 billion in funding to facilitate accelerated sector transformation.
Priority 5, tourism infrastructure development. Tourism infrastructure development is a priority because we have a number of state-owned tourist attractions and national parks and we must invest and improve infrastructure to crowd in investment by the private sector. We have started working with Infrastructure South Africa, ISA, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, in this regard and look forward to working with all partners on actions we can take together to grow tourism and to attend to infrastructure investment.

Infrastructure maintenance is another big project. Tourism infrastructure and maintenance of the assets are aligned to both the “Protect and rejuvenate” and the “Reignite Demand” Pillars of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan and in this regard, the department has rolled out an infrastructure and maintenance programme. For the 2023-24 financial year, the target according to the department’s Annual Performance Plan, APP, contains a target to monitor the implementation of 29 community-based tourism projects, 11 in Limpopo; five in the Eastern Cape, three in the Free State, two each in KwaZulu- Natal and Mpumalanga and three each in the North West and Northern Cape.
The total budget for the maintenance of these projects in the APP is just over R97 million. The Infrastructure Maintenance Programme is aimed at refurbishing tourism assets, increasing visitor experience, supporting the sustainability of tourism attractions and providing employment opportunities. Air access is another key priority for us is to bring more direct flights to South Africa to ensure that the planes also leave the country with travellers so that we grow reciprocal relationships with countries around the world. The African Union, AU, has also launched the Single African Air Transport Market, SAATM, which aims to liberalise air transport on the continent and promote greater competition and connectivity.

Air capacity has risen since last year, with a 56% increase in Quarter 1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. In 2023, we reached 1,8 million seats, and South Africa welcomed around
23 new routes. New direct flights, such as Cape Town to New York and Washington by United Airlines commenced last year and Air China resumed its direct flight to OR Tambo International Airport in March this year. The upcoming LATAM flight from Brazil to OR Tambo International Airport in August will also contribute to our nation's appeal. We are also looking to establish a national mechanism to increase air access for
South Africa as a destination. We will also continue to participate in the provincial air access forums to ensure that insights into inbound global markets are made available to support efforts to secure new entrants.

Let me turn to the Budget Vote, Hon members and Hon Chairperson, the budget for the 2023-24 financial year are R2,524 billion. The main allocations of the budget are as follows; R1,344 billion to the department’s main entity SA Tourism; R347 million on the compensation for employees; R303 million for the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP;
and R225 million for the various Tourism Incentive Programmes. The largest portion of the department’s budget allocation in the past and over the medium term is allocated to its public entity, SA Tourism whose primary mandate is the marketing of South Africa as a tourist destination to local and international tourists

Then thereafter, the Department of Tourism is left with only R1,180 billion to implement programmes which support the most vulnerable in society, including unemployed youth, as well as SMMEs in rural villages and towns, and are targeted nationally. The department’s programmes broadly include the
Working for Tourism Programme through EPWP, the Tourism Incentive Programme which supports the Green Tourism Incentive Programme and other enterprise development projects. Most of the department’s activities are carried out through the EPWPs and are aimed at enhancing and developing tourism infrastructure through labour?intensive methods targeted at young people, women, the unemployed, people with disabilities and SMMEs. The department’s Enterprise Development and Transformation Programme also enables us to implement projects that provide various support to SMMEs, drive transformation and ensure the development of emerging operators.

Briefly on SA Tourism, the key activities for SA Tourism for the 2023-24 financial year include; Continuing to prioritise domestic tourism, followed by regional and then international tourism as per the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan. Key to this will be the Global Tourism Brand Campaign that seeks to ensure that South Africa is embedded as a top-of-mind destination for all potential tourists.

Through the Global Trade component, SA Tourism will continue to participate in various local and international platforms to connect and promote South Africa as a lucrative destination to
international airlines. We live in a globally competitive village and we must work much harder at destination marketing initiatives. Some of the Department of Tourism’s key programmes, in terms of the key programmes by the department to support the growth of the sector, one of the key programme by the department is the Tourism Incentive Programme which is a tool to stimulate the growth, development and transformation of the sector. This incentive programme has been allocated R225,6 million in this financial year for the implementation of the following interventions; The Market Access Support Programme; The Green Tourism Incentive Programme; The Tourism Transformation Fund and the Tourism Grading Support Programme just to mention a few interventions by the department.

One of our key interventions is around safety and security, safety and security are critical for tourism in South Africa, also impacting visitor safety, destination reputation, economic growth, regulatory compliance, and community support. We need to confront the safety issues and in this regard, we need collaboration, ideas and solutions from the public and private sector. I have put together for Monday 29 May 2023 in Johannesburg a safety forum to work on the action plan with all tourism MECs, private sector representatives from the
Tourism Business Council of South Africa, the SA Tourism Services Association, Satsa, and many other role-players. In terms of the department’s Tourism Safety Monitors Programme, we are reviewing the training curriculum for tourism safety monitors, where they are recruited from and where they are deployed to in terms of priority areas.

I also want to appeal to the private sector ... [Interjections.] ...

The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S O R Mahumapelo): Hon Minister, your time is completely up ...

The MINISTER OF TOURISM: ... up ... I thought so ... minus 13 yes. Thank you, Hon Chair.

The CHAIRPERSON (Mr S O R Mahumapelo): Hon members, just before I call the next speaker, just to greet the tourism family. Good afternoon tourism family. I am just greeting you. Thank you very much.

Ms T MAHAMBEHLALA: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members, fellow South Africans. We are
gathered here today just two weeks after we have participated in Africa’s Travel Indaba which was held in eThekwini at Inkosi Luthuli Convention Centre from 8 to 11 May. Over 8 600 delegates attended this august event which was aimed at creating a business opportunity networking bay, which seeks to provide a platform for thought leadership, knowledge sharing, obtain the latest in global tourism trends and local insight about tourism sector.

It was indeed an honour to exchange notes with industry players, and leaders from 21 African countries. While the event was a success, we urge SA Tourism, SAT, and organisers to pay close attention to feedback given by all stakeholders, particularly the exhibiters, to always ensure that the Indaba moves to a next level and show a sign of improvement in the following year. Hon members, the contribution of SA Tourism or the contribution of tourism to the global economy right here in our country, cannot be overemphasised. According to the World Travel in Tourism Council, WTTC, SA Travel and tourism, contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, will propel the National Economic Recovery over the next decade.
The WTT’s economic impact report predicts that the sector will grow at an average of 7,6% annually over the next decade, surpassing the 1,8% growth of the country’s overall economy.
It also envisages that 2023, the sector’s contribution to the GDP could reach more than R554,6 billion, which is 7,4% of the national economy. The sector is also expected to create over
8 400 jobs over the next decade. This, notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged our sector, cause a decline of 3,1% in 2020, representing a staggering less of the 55,6%.

The ANC makes a clarion call on the Minister to ... [inaudible.] ... save this strategic portfolio the necessary due diligence it deserves in the national department and its SA Tourism entity, in order to place it on the forefront of the country’s economic recovery. The ANC has long affirmed that the state-owned enterprises, SOEs, plays a crucial role in advancing the country’s developmental agenda, in order to ensure a dedicated focused capacity to the state to deliver effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, the SOEs must be channeled towards the implementation of the national development objectives.
Currently, the SA Tourism is not in a state to live up to these objectives. The portfolio committee remains perturbed by the developments that have taken place in the entity since the revelation of the controversial Tottenham Hotspur deal. Since we managed to put out that fire through the enforcement of robust oversight, there has been, subsequently, a spike of other challenges within the entity, some of which, unfortunately, have been exacerbated by the confusion and inconsistences of the Minister.

The portfolio committee has since discovered a myriad of government challenges that raises concerns about the institutional capacity of the SA Tourism. As stated in the report, it is the unanimous view of the Portfolio Committee of Tourism that SA Tourism, is currently in a quagmire and requires decisive intervention. These concerns include a dysfunctional board that does not understand its mandate, an entity that does not have the Executive staff and the management echelons with five acting positions, including the Chief Operating Officer, COO, and the Chief Financial Officer, CFO. The three-member board, which consists of friends of the Minister, two of which are from Wesgro, and KwaZulu-Natal
Province. Since their appointment, they had seen it pertinent to despoil the executive of the delegation of authority.

This entity receives 53,3% which amounts to R1,47 billion of the funds appropriated to the Department of Tourism. It is therefore a considered vie as resolved by the portfolio committee, PC, that, the department must not transfer the 53,3% of its budget to the entity, until the delegations of authority are deferred back to the executive and management of the entity to circumvent referee and player situation as it is currently maturing. Until all these executive or management vacancies are filled to stabilize the entity.

Based on the Auditor-General’s report on the instability which submerged the entity, it will be less for the committee to concede to the department’s transfer to SA Tourism. The committee noted with discomposure the conflict of interest that the Chair of the board, Mr Tim Harris has. It is terrifically conflicted because of various positions that he holds in entities that has direct responsibilities as SAT, which amongst others, by admission and on record, is his position as partner and Head of competitiveness at Consulum.
Hitherto, he has exploited the platform for his nefarious ends.

His appointment is equivalent to the so-called cadre deployment, which the DA makes pandemonium about. The unethical behavior by Ms Kholeka Zama who has lied with impunity before Parliament on several issues on two occasions, this is not only perjury, but also exemplify that, with such caliber of individuals, good governance will never be realized. It is extremely ... [Inaudible.] ... to witness such from an individual that is expected to head human capital and remuneration committee.

Together with the Audit and Risk Committee, in a short space of time, she had vile as the Auditor-General to approve the Joint Marketing Agreements, JMAs, with the private sector, which was stopped as it is against the Public Finance Management Act, and the Auditor-General refused. While we welcome the 0,7% increase in nominal terms for the Budget Vote
38 on Tourism, R250 2,4 billion in 2022-23 to R2,5 242 billion 2023-24, as it is slowly starting to respond to the call that we have been making over the years, to sufficiently fund the immense mandate bestowed upon the department and its entity.
However, we remain concerned that the approach and the slow pace of the Minister to respond and effectively address the challenges identified by hon members of the portfolio committee, will have a detrimental effect on the department and its entity and further impede their ability to deliver on the mandate. We call on the Minister to increase the number of the members serving on the board and by so doing, ensure that there is a fair demographic and geographic sped with bias towards previously marginalized South Africans, black women, youth and persons with disabilities from the rural parts of the country as prescribed by Tourism Act of 2014.

Furthermore, we implore that the department should develop a closely monitored and the public entity oversight framework and revised government protocols from the public entity, so as to directly address the root causes of the entity’s dysfunctional and systematical deal or them. Hon Chairperson, in conclusion, with all the concerns we have raised and the recommendations made in the portfolio committee’s report. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. Thank you very much.

Mr M S F DE FREITAS: Hon House Chairperson, the R1 billion aborted Tottenham Hotspur issue brought tourism to the front
pages of newspapers for the wrong reasons. The press conference held at the time led by Themba Khumalo, the then Acting Chief Executive Officer of SA Tourism, was a titanic display of arrogance and speaking down to the public. Khumalo claimed that there was no deal, however media reports indicated that the deal was to be signed when the story broke. There is no doubt that this ill-conceived idea was halted due to the unanimous public outcry.

How it is that such a proposal that would take place when the third of the SA Tourism budget was allowed to go as far as it did and why is the previous acting CEO and other officials not being held personally liable for this wasteful and most definitely fruitless expenditure? As is the norm with this government there is no accountability nor consequences.

Speaking of accountability and consequences, or the lack thereof, the Minister saw it fit to accept the recent resignation of Mr Themba Khumalo by letting him go without him working in his three month notice period. This means that an astronomical over R8 million was spent on one person for doing nothing for three months. Why would you allow this huge amount to be spent without receiving anything in return? This is
simply irresponsible and a display of the middle finger to the taxpayer who is footing this astronomical bill.

If anyone thought that the problems with SA Tourism Acting CEOs were over after Khumalo’s departure, they were sorely misled. Within days of the being appointed earlier this month, the newly appointed SA Tourism acting CEO, Nomasonto Ndlovu, had allegations of bribery levelled against her, when she was allegedly implicated in accepting a R100 000,00 bribe from an airline for business class flights, accommodation and Qatar World Cup tickets. To add salt to the wound, the SA Tourism Board chair confirmed to me that Ndlovu would not be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into this matter, but that she would continue with her duties irrespective. This is highly irregular and only boosts the negative image that SA Tourism already has.

But the situation gets worse when one considers that Ndlovu, who was the Tshwane Strategic Director of Communications, Marketing and Events, was involved in the ill-fated Dinokeng Tribe One music Festival which was to take place in Cullinan in September 2014. The festival was cancelled, despite millions having been spent. Ndlovu left the City of Tshwane in
2017 amid set of investigations of allegations that over R40 million had been misused in preparation for the music concert. Yet the SA Tourism Board finds it prudent to allow such a questionable person to head SA Tourism.

But the problems with SA Tourism are not confined to officials, in replies to parliamentary questions that I posed, the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille admitted and admittedly that under her watch since 2020 the SA Tourism board had spent an astronomical over R2,500 000,00 on themselves, on remuneration fees, travel and accommodation.
This amount is not commensurate with tourism growth over the same period.

The replies reflect that the members of the previous SA Tourism Board were clearly milking the system, as of the 57 board meetings held, 43 or 75% of all meetings were held virtually, with only 10 meetings held in person, yet an astronomical over R769 000 was spent on travel and accommodation on themselves. This averages a little under R77 000 per meeting on travel and accommodation alone. Board
member remuneration fees over the same period totalled a sky- high amount of over R1,600 000 of taxpayer’s money.
But it doesn’t stop there! SA Tourism seems to be going from one scandal to the next. Only this weekend that I read in a Sunday newspaper that three members of the portfolio committee, including myself were specifically nominated to participate in a now cancelled pointless weekend junket in New York. I heard about this for the first time when the newspaper reporter called me about this in the first place. The SA Tourism did not even have the plain decency to even advise me about this in the first place. So my name was branded around without my knowledge. Besides the fact that all that such a trip would entail would be to celebrate Freedom Day in New York and that it would cost the taxpayer with an excess over R210 000 per person.

SA Tourism does not seem to understand that they account to the Tourism Portfolio Committee, this means that members of the portfolio committee cannot accept such a trip from them as it then compromises the Members of Parliament who are overseeing the very entity that they are overseeing.

It is clear that the Minister needs to appoint a proper board to head SA Tourism because as things stand, they appear more like a Charlie Chaplin comedy than a serious entity with the
interests of tourism at heart. That is a sliver line because by next year this time, tourism would dramatically improve and as a new ... [Inaudible.] 08:30 – 14:59. I thank you, Chair.

Mr A MATUMBA: Greetings to the president of the EFF, commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, and the collective ...


vhathu vhanzhi vha a vhudzisa uri sa dzangano ?a EFF ri khou ita zwifhio phalamenndeni u thivhela tshan?a nguvhoni khathihi na u lwela uri mvelaphan?a i ?e vhathuni. ?amusi ntendeleni ndi shumise hetshi tshifhinga tshe nda ?ewa uri EFF ilwe na tshan?a nguvhoni, i dovhe ilwele uri mvelaphan?a iye vhathuni.

Heyi Vouthu ya Mugaganyagwama wa masheleni ane a ?o shumisiwa nga muvhuso kha zwa vhuendelamashango u tou sumbedza uri shango ?i khou vhusiwa nga vhathu vhane a vha na ndavha na vhathu vhane vha khou vha vhusa, ho ?alesa tshan?a nguvhoni. Kha ri sedze hangei Manyane Lodge, kha ?a North West ho xaxariswa masheleni ane a e?ana R37 mi?ioni kha thandela ye ya vha yo fanela yo bveledzisa shango khathihi na u sika mishumo. Na ?amusi vha?o?i vha tshe ngeyo. Thandela ndi madumba, mafobvu a shavha na tshelede. A hu na na tshithu na tshithihi
tsho itiwaho uri vhathu vha wane mishumo. Masheleni o sokou fhufhuriwa fhedzi. Dzi?we dzimi?ioni kha hoyu mugaganyagwama dzi khou ?o?a u iswa henengei kha thandela yo pfuvhaho.

Vhathu vha Vhembe vho fhuriwa ha pfi hu khou itiwa thandela ya Mveledziso ya Vhuendelamashango ya Tshakhuma. Hoyu muhasho wa avhela R28 mi?ioni uri zwi itee, vhathu vha vhuponi ha mahayani vha wane mishumo. A hu na na tshithihi tsho itwaho, ho tou khuriwa ha pfi hafha ndi hune thandela ya ?o itwa hone, ha vha ndi muga, R9 mi?ioni yo ngalangala. Ri a ?ivhudzisa uri i?i ndi ?aka ?a hani ?ine ?a khuriwa nga R9 mi?ioni? A hu na na tsho itwaho kha muthu na muthihi.

Hafha?a mahovhohovhoni a Phiphi?i, tshelede i khou ?i ya tshifhinga tsho?he u bveledzisa u itela uri hu vhaendelamashango u fana na hangei Graskop, Mpumalanga, fhedzi masheleni a kho ?i bva ngeno hu si na tshine tsha khou itea.

Ndi ngani ri tshi fanela na Brand SA ra dovha ra vha na South African Tourism ngeno izwi zwiimiswa zwi tshi khou ita tshithu tshithihi. Zwi fanela u vha tshithu tshithihi uri ri sa tambise masheleni nga zwiimiswa zwivhili zwi fanaho. Mushumo muhulwane wa vhuendelamashango ndi u vhambadza shango ?ashu
kha ma?we mashango. Fhedzi hetshi tshi imiswa a tshi na muvhambadzi muhulwane. Zwino mbudziso ndi ya uri masheleni ri khou a iselani hone hu na uri muvhambadzi haho? A si ene e e?he, ra nga sedza ri wana uri a hu na mulangi muofisiri muhulwane, na mulangi muofisiri wa masheleni muhulwane, ndi vhathu vho tou farelaho. Ndi muhasho wa Hollywood.

Vhathu vhashu mihumbulo ya u ?idzhenisa kha mabindu a vhuendelamashango vha nayo, fhedzi hu ?i tou kon?a uri a hu na masheleni. U tshi sedza hoyu mugaganyagwama, u a kona u zwi vhona uri mvula ya zwivhuya i nela mu?i muthihi fhedzi.
Masheleni manzhi a khou humela kha thandela dza vhathu vhathihi, dzine nnzhi dza hone dza bala u dzi shuma. Kha vha ri ndi ?ee mu?ala, vhathu vha hashu ntendeleni ndi ambe ngoho. Hezwi ndi tshi ri mvula ya masheleni i nela vhathu vhathihi fhedzi, ndi khou amba na nga heneyi R36 mi?ioni ine ya vha i khou ya kha Khosi Matsila uri a khwinifhadze ?odzhi yawe. Uri kha ?a ha-tshika-muroho ?o?he, musanda ndi Matsila e e?he fhedzi? Avha vha?we masheleni a u bveledza mashango avho a vha i ?o?i, kana vhathu ro?he kha mashango ri fanela u pfuluwa ra ya ra dzula na Matsila?
Ndi khou amba ngauri nyimele ya vhaswa vha Vleifontein hune n?e nda bva hone a i takadzi na zwi?uku?uku. Vhathu vha mudzimu vho dzula mahayani a hu na mishumo. Vha Tshikota na Musina a ri tsha amba. Vhunzhi havho ...

Sa EFF ri ri, heyi R36 mi?ioni ine ya khou ya u ?ewa Matsila, kha i ?ewe vha?we. Zwine zwa fanela u itea ndi zwa uri hu vhidziwe vhoramabindu vha?uku na vhathu vhane vha khou ?o?a u ?idzhenisa kha mabindu a vhuendelamashango. Havha vhathu vha ?ise pulane dza mabindu. Kha heyi R36 mi?ioni hu nga bva
R400 000 dza 90, vhoramabindu vha?uku vha ?iitela mabindu.

Ri a zwi ?ivha uri vhukati ha Mulanguli Gu?e wa Vhuendelamashango na Khosi Livhuwani Matsila hu na vhushaka vhu re hone. Ra nga sedzulusa, ri ?o zwi vhona uri masheleni a khou ya kha khonani.

Ndi sa athu fhedza, kha ndi tendelwe uri ndi ambe nga ha Vhuendelamashango ha Afurika Tshipembe.


There is something that the DA is not talking about here. According to the DA, corruption has colour. Corruption is
black, that’s why we only hear about ... [U Dzhenelela.] ... black corruption.

We have Tim Harris who was legally so appointed to be the chairperson of South African Tourism, SAT, and today, the very same Tim Harris has changed the SAT into an institution of 1926. Why do I say so? Black people are used there as juniors to whites. All senior black people are no longer allowed to take decisions on their own. The powers they had are gone.

Minister ... [Interjections.] ... I am asked you today, Tim Harris resign in Parliament to come and work in your mayoral office? But you took the same Tim Harris who worked in your mayoral office and put him as a chairperson of the board. It is conflict of interest. We made it clear to you that Tim Harris has a company with vested interests in the SAT, but even today, you still don’t listen. It is clear the Minister of the department is now Tim Harris and no longer Minister Patricia De Lille. Thank you. [Applause.]

Ms Z MAJOZIH: Hon Chairperson, adopted policies such as the National Development Plan and the White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa are in
place to ensure that tourism is a national priority sector. It is a major contributor to our job creation targets and economic development in this country. South Africa’s economic transformation is only judged a success, when our unemployment challenges and African Developmental Agendas have been realised.

With such promise of a land that can offer opportunities in tourism, the burden placed on this department is of national key importance. Funds allocated to this department need to be spent wisely in order to ensure maximum reach and development of all communities especially rural ones.

Hon Minister, according to your budget, more than 93% of Program 2’s budget has been allocated to the South African Tourism, Sat. The Sat is such an important entity, which is intended to promote South Africa as both a leisure and a business events destination.

The department has failed to make available monitoring and evaluation reports on tourism projects and initiatives which are essential for improved oversight and holding this entity accountable. Although Sat sits with more than 53% of the
department’s overall budget, defying the constitutional mandate of Parliament has been a consistent streak from its board. Its members also do not possess any tourism industry expertise and deliberately do not attend to the annual performance plan and budget meetings, which is a clear indication of a lack of commitment from the executive.

Two-thirds of the board members have previously worked in the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency Wesgro, an agency meant to promote tourism, trade and investment, specifically in the Western Cape. This clearly demonstrates to us that there is no geographical, gender spread and representation of people living with disabilities in this board,as envisaged by the Tourism Act 3 of 2014.

We are concerned about why you so vicariously went to the public media in telling Parliament to note its power, which comes off as a smokescreen tactic to deflect your own possible ties with Wesgro and these board members, now that that you have elected to give full powers to this three-member board.
Is Wesgro the only place we could source competent board members from in the whole of South Africa?
Numerous other concerns have been raised. The department has done nothing to address the legitimate concern that the interim Chairperson of the Board and the Acting chief marketing officer may collaborate in embezzling funds. It has been raised with the department and nothing has been done so far.

Not only does the board seem to have a possible conflict of interest, but there also seems to exist a clear misalignment in the board’s understanding of its mandate and priorities, whilst failing to handle its own affairs, which is a clear giveaway that it will fail to turn things around.

In contravention of the Tourism Act, the board has held more than eight meetings, as opposed to at least four meetings per year. Not only does this indicate that the board is focused on meetings and not actual work, but it also highlights its lack of understanding of legislations that regulate it. Most importantly, we are concerned about who will be held accountable, if the budget is released to the entity, as currently, there is no permanent executive or accounting authority.
As the IFP, we believe the 2023-24 financial year budget should not be made available to this department. The IFP rejects this Budget Vote. Thank you

Mr I M GROENEWALD: Hon Chairperson, South Africa is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty and a rich cultural heritage. Our land has magnificent landscapes, from the breathtaking vistas of the Drakensberg mountains to the picture-perfect shores of our diverse coastlines. This remarkable beauty has the potential to captivate the hearts and minds of visitors from across the globe.


Toerisme speel ’n kritieke rol in die ekonomie van ons land. Dit skep werksgeleenthede en bring inkomste na ons gemeenskappe. Dit is belangrik om ons toerismebedryf te beskerm en te bevorder, terwyl ons steeds ons unieke kultuur en waardes handhaaf. As ’n party, glo ons in die balans tussen die ontwikkeling van die toerismebedryf en die bewaring van ons natuurlike hulpbronne.

We understand that tourism is not only about attracting visitors, but also about providing them with an unforgettable experience. We must invest in infrastructure and services that cater to the needs of our tourists, ensuring their safety and comfort. By doing so, we can create a positive image of South Africa as a premier travel destination.


Ons moet ook erken dat ons toerismebedryf nie sonder sy uitdagings is nie. Veiligheid is een van die belangrikste kwessies waarmee ons te kampe het. Ons moet saamwerk met wetstoepassings-agentskappe en gemeenskappe om misdaad te bekamp en ’n omgewing van veiligheid te skep. Deur toeriste se veiligheid te verseker, kan ons hul vertroue wen en hulle aanmoedig om ons pragtige land te besoek.

Die privaatsektor as rolspeler moet ook georganiseerd raak en deelneem aan die strategie vorming van die departement, insae lewer oor wat die toerismeheffing moet wees en waarvoor dit aangewend word. Toerisme gesien as ’n familie, moet die regering nie eensydig net voortgaan doellose geldvermorsing projekte soos die Tottenhum Hotspurs-ooreenkoms nie, maar
eerder ook die insette kry by die privaatsektor, wat dit hulle werk maak om te weet hoe om die land te bemark.


The government must invest in our own local tourism. All levels of government and all departments of government must buy in on the idea of tourism and the fact that tourism can become a greater contributor to our economy than the mining industry, yet the ANC government works in silos.

There must be more oversight on Tourism SA and infrastructure programmes of the department. With the majority of the Tourism Department’s budget going to SA Tourism Agency, it is important to revisit the relevance of either Sat or the department.

The allegations of corruption at SA Tourism must be investigated as a priority and the guilty must be prosecuted. South Africans are siek en Sat [sick and tired] of hearing of corruption and demands action.

Korupsie sal nie net die ondergang van Suid Afrika wees nie, maar ook die beeld van Suid Afrika, so skend dat dit selfs in toerisme ’n rol sal speel waar investering opdroog en toeriste sal verdamp.


Furthermore, we believe in promoting inclusivity in our tourism sector. By embracing our rich tapestry of languages, traditions, and customs, we can offer visitors a truly authentic South African experience. This inclusivity also extends to ensuring equitable opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, allowing them to thrive and contribute to our economy.


Ons kan nie die potensiaal van toerisme in Suid-Afrika ignoreer nie. Die voordelige impak op ons ekonomie en gemeenskappe kan aansienlik wees, maar ons moet dit met sorg en omsigtigheid benader. Ons moet ons natuurskoon en kultuur beskerm, terwyl ons ’n omgewing skep wat toeriste aantrek en hulle aanmoedig om ons pragtige land te verken.

In conclusion, as members of the FF Plus, we recognise the importance of tourism in South Africa and the countless opportunities it presents. We must work together to create a safe, inclusive, and sustainable tourism industry that showcases the beauty of our land while preserving our unique heritage. By doing so, we can unlock the full potential of tourism and secure a brighter future for our country, but only if the ANC do not govern, because the people of the tourism market deserves a better South Africa that is promotable.
Thank you.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM: Hon House Chair, Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of the NCOP, director-general and senior management of the department, Acting CEO and the executive management of SA Tourism, distinguished guests, the recently held Africa’s Travel Indaba which is the largest tourism trade show on the African continent, imbued us with a great hope that our tourism industry and travel sector is making a strong and sustained comeback. This auspicious Indaba was held in May which is Africa Month where we celebrate the rich African heritage and her sheer resilience of her populace against colonialism. The recently released arrival figures are
particularly encouraging given the fact that majority of tourists in 2022 were from the continent.

House Chairperson, the tourism sector is bouncing back. Travellers from the region and the world are increasingly seeing our country as a destination of choice and flocking in our shores to experience our natural wonders and spend their money to contribute towards job creation for our people.

Last year, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day, the World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, introduced the concept of “Rethinking Tourism” which embodies an essential step for the full realisation of our sector’s enormous and unrivalled potential to deliver positive change and opportunity for our people. It means inclusive tourism that benefits marginalised communities and contributes to gender equality.

The forecast from the World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC, Economic Impact Report shows South African Travel and Tourism sector is forecasted to grow at an average rate of 7,6% annually over the next decade, significantly outstripping the country’s economic growth rate.
By 2032, the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product, GDP, could reach more than R554 billion, that is 7,4% of the total economy injecting nearly R287 billion into the national economy. The sector is expected to create over 800 000 jobs over the next decade to reach more than 1,9 million jobs by 2032.

It is a known and irrefutable fact that many countries around the world placed severe and damaging restrictions to South Africa, which even caused further damage to the sector by putting thousands more of livelihoods at risk.

We will continue to encourage our citizens to take a Sho’t Left in our beautiful country. We believe this is a way of encouraging South Africans to visit accessible and affordable places in our country.

As part of the revitalisation of the tourism sector, we will be implementing four domestic tourism campaigns which are meant to create awareness and encourage South Africans to travel by ensuring affordable and accessible travel and tourism products. We will pay special attention and focus on the growth and development of less visited areas in South
Africa. By growing the country’s tourism sector is a key aspect of the country’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan and aims to ignite economic growth and create jobs.

Domestic tourism is an important key pillar in the sustenance of the industry. This has proven itself, at the height COVID-
19 pandemic where the industry was solely depending on the domestic market to sustain itself. Information and affordability are the important to make the population travel. Unfortunately, racial profiling also remains a big concern for many domestic travellers.

We will continue to encourage South African product owners to cater for domestic travellers’ needs through their various products and offerings.

Our investment on infrastructure contributes to creating and enhancing tourism products for inclusive growth mainly in rural areas. This will include the development of community owned tourism facilities and maintenance of state-owned tourism assets.
Meanwhile, as part of the destination enhancement and route development, projects to diversify tourism offerings and enhance visitor experience in identified priority areas will be implemented. We will also support and monitor the implementation of the 29 community-based tourism projects which are meant for enhancement of visitor’s experience in rural communities by growing domestic tourism, creating jobs and development of small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs.

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, TGCSA, continues to grow with a portfolio of over 4 800 properties. In this fiscal year we aiming to complete the review of the grading criteria and continue to innovate in this area of work by including short-term rentals, sustainable initiatives and new traveller trends.

The continued growth of the Basic Quality Verification programme, which serves to provide certification for homestays and tourism establishments in villages, townships and small [dorpies] and is rolling out through KwaZulu-Natal this year. Through this programme, TGCSA has employed 20 graduates to evaluate these properties. The programme is a significant
contribution towards the advancement of the goals and objectives of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

For South Africa to continue to maintain its position as the number one business events destination in Africa and the Middle East, is to be truly competitive on the international stage and enhanced its focus on business development support. For the medium to longer term, the South African National Convention Bureau, SANCB, will continue its focus on demand creation and bid support globally.

In the 2022-23 financial year, the SANCB sourced and submitted

95 bids for international business events to be hosted in South Africa between 2022 and 2029. The unit had a target of
93 bid submissions for the 2022-23 financial year. In the 95 bids submitted, a combined estimated economic value of R1,2 billion and a potential to attract 49 232 international and regional delegates to South Africa between 2022 and 2029.

The Youth Skills Development Programme implemented by the department is leaving a dent on the scourge of unemployment and consequential social strife. These various training programmes are implemented in partnership with the private
sector to focus on interventions to improve visitor experience and are based on industry demand.

Following the successful completion of 30 chefs enrolled last year, about 50 chefs will undergo a Recognition of Prior Learning process this financial year to obtain professional designations or qualification. The programme targets employees who have acquired experience and skills over the years, but never got a chance to access formal education and training, therefore have no formal qualification to show.

The department will embark on training 2 500 unemployed youth and 250 SMMEs on norms and standards for safe tourism operations. In addition, for the support to SMMEs, three existing business incubators that is, tourism and innovation incubators, food services incubator and community-based tourism enterprise incubator will be supported. At the same time 1 500 unemployed youth will be trained on identified skills development programmes and over 4 000 job opportunities will be created through the Expanded Public Works Programme, EPWP.
The department is currently in a process of finalising a Gastronomy tourism framework which will result in the promotion and development of tourism gastronomy experience across South Africa. This will provide the country an opportunity to showcase the country’s history, heritage, cultures, geographic and cultural diversity through tourism with a specific emphasis on community development, poverty alleviation focusing on women, youth and people with disability.

We will be hosting the National Tourism Careers Expo, NTCE, to promote tourism as a career, profession and business of choice whilst inversely presenting a platform for the industry to sell itself as an employer of choice.

Last year, we hosted the NTCE at the Johannesburg Expo in Nasrec which was attended by 5 283 learners, of these 137 learners who participated were learners with disabilities. Other key stakeholders who participated were educators, university and Technical Vocational Education and Training, TVET, colleges students unemployed youth and exhibitors.
The Tourism Incentive Programme has an allocation of R243 million, which will be used to contribute towards the transformation of the sector to ensure ownership, management, control and skills development. An amount of R129,77 million will be transferred to Small Enterprise Finance Agency, SEFA, as part of the capitalisation of the Tourism Equity Fund, TEF, while an anticipated amount of R17 million will be used for the implementation of the Tourism Support Grading Council by SA Tourism. The remainder will be used for the implementation of the market access support and possible recapitalisation of the Green Tourism Incentive Programme to expand the programme.

South Africa will continue to enhance ease of access for tourism priority markets. An analysis by SA Tourism priority markets in 24 markets shows that the prioritised tourism markets enjoy a relatively liberal visa regime.

Thus, work is required for market development such as in Eastern Europe, Asia in particular China and India and the African continent. We will continue to work with our partners and the private sector to monitor and support the implementation of the e-visa system and the requirements for tourist to visit South Africa and for the re-establishment of
South Africa’s airlift capacity to ensure adequate capacity for tourism markets.

Let me conclude ma’Khawula. Chairperson, we need every hand on deck, regardless of our political and social affiliations, to push and advance the achievements of our tourism sector, because we firmly believe that the success of the industry is only possible with the sum total of everyone’s efforts in our beautiful country. Thank you very much.

Mr S M JAFTA: House Chair, the National Development Plan, NDP, which is the country’s economic development anchor sheet, places the tourism sector at the centre of the country’s economic growth and employment. The tourism sector, according to the 2019 survey conducted by the World Travel and Tourism Council created at least 1,5 million jobs in the country and significantly added more than R400 billion to our gross domestic product, GDP.

The role of the tourism sector in South Africa must be understood against the country’s existing developmental and intergovernmental regime, such as the District Developmental Model and the national Constitution, which envisages tourism
as a functional area of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence. We argue that this conduct must inform this budget.

Hon House Chair, the tourism sector is a cross cutting industry, that is, it has linkages which implicates other corresponding sectors such as trade and industry, transport, business and manufacturing, all of which provide value added impetus to the tourism sector. The sector has challenges, there are therefore obvious interventions we are proposing. We need to ensure that existing partnerships with Cricket SA, Standard Bank, Joy of Jazz, Soweto Marathon, Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the National Arts Council are constantly calibrated.

The Department of Tourism must ensure that acquisitions approved by the Competition Commission, especially those with the potential to affect employment in the tourism sector, are carefully scrutinised. The amalgamation of Brand SA Tourism and Invest SA must proceed with speed. The department has to engage the Heritage Resources Agency and the Department of Arts and Culture with the view to proclaiming certain areas as
bearing cultural heritage and historical significance ... [Inaudible.] ... We support this Budget Vote, hon House Chair.

Ms S T MANELI: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members and fellow South Africans, a policy brief published by the United Nations in 2020 alluded that, I quote:

Rebuilding tourism is also an opportunity for transformation, with a focus on leveraging its impact on destinations visited and building more resilient communities and businesses through innovation, digitalisation, sustainability and partnership.

House Chair, while the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc globally and effectively altered life as we knew it, it is worth acknowledging that it has also propelled us to look at new ways of doing things. It has forced us to have difficult conversations and understand that as the global economy shifts and changes in profound ways, no one should be left behind.
Therefore, our policies must be transformative and foster inclusivity, particularly of the previously disadvantaged and
marginalised in societies. Africans in general, blacks in particular women, youth and persons with disabilities.

Advancing transformation in the tourism sector is paramount, and the Department of Tourism must be steadfast in putting the necessary mechanisms in place to ensure that its vision for South Africa to become a leading sustainable tourism development destination that promotes inclusive economic growth, is not just a slogan and a pipe dream, but something that is within reach for the benefit of all our people.

The tourism Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, BBBEE, code, as amended in 2015, commits all stakeholders to empowerment and transformation of the tourism sector.
Transformation of the tourism sector will contribute to its growth and sustainability. The key focus areas of empowerment and transformation in this context of the score card are ownership, management control, skills development enterprise and supply development as well as socioeconomic development.

The research by the Empowerdex Rating Agency has revealed that the sector sits at a level one recognition with 110 points. It has commended companies that put effort into achieving their
triple BBBEE set scores. According to the report, the tourism sector achieved 23,9 out of 27 points for black equity ownership, 11,7 out of 19,0 for management control, 16,6 out of 20,0 for skills development, 34,6 out of 40,0 for enterprise and supply development and exceeded expectation with 6,8 out of 5,0 for social economic development.

We note that whilst there is progress much still needs to be done to transform the tourism sector and place the previously disadvantaged on equal footing with their historically privileged compatriots, predominantly the white males.

In terms of the Tourism Equity Fund, it is most regrettable that the Tourism Equity Fund remains interdicted instead of helping many businesses struggling to find their feet, following the damage and devastations caused by the COVID-19 to their businesses. This fund aims to support commercially viable black-owned enterprises to acquire shares in tourism enterprises, to promote the visibility of small, medium and micro enterprises, and facilitate the development of community assets and ownership patterns.
Since 2021 we have been unable to move on this front due to reactionary and right-wing organisations that have made it a norm to run to the courts whenever a decision does not favour them or their apartheid inherited privileges. Of course, they cannot stand to see this fund enhancing the national transformation agenda and helping businesses adhere to our policies on BBBEE, which seeks to level the playing field and foster inclusion within the sector.

House Chairperson, the number of graded establishments in the Tourism Grading Council South Africa, which is the official quality assurance body for different tourism products in South Africa, is expected to increase from 355 in 2023 to 5805 in 2025-26 at a projected cost of R1,685 million over the medium term. Grading has helped many businesses to attract customers from all over the world, to a large extent, the star grading mechanism assures them that they can trust the establishment to offer them good tourism products and services.

Nowadays grading coupled with the growing use of various software and digital applications has proven intrinsically linked to attracting tourists worldwide to several of our establishment across the country. This gives rise to the need
for tourism products in their villages, townships and small dorpies to be supported with financial and non-financial resources in the form of skills development, and they must also be given information that will equip them to better position their establishment for grading.

The grading tool must help SMMEs and boost traction to support cultural tourism as we welcome the world to experience our country’s beautiful and diverse tourism offerings. In this regard, we are happy to see that the department committed itself to developing, monitoring and evaluation reports for its grading program and incubators and capacity building programmes by the end of the financial year.

To this effect, Program 4, which is tourism sector support services, has been allocated R3,363 million for the 2023 financial year. This program must enhance transformation, increase skills level and support the sector development to ensure that South Africa is a competitive tourism destination. Projects within the Tourism Incentive Program, TIP, which has a budget allocation of R243,1 million, include tourism market access, grading support, tourism destination, development and energy efficient projects. The TIP consumes 66,9%.
This is where the transformation agenda of the department is implemented, through the encouragement of inclusive growth and programmes that seek to accelerate the transformation of the tourism sector. It is concerning to see that allocation to the TIP subprogramme has decreased by 4,55% in the real terms over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, period.

In conclusion, the ANC notes concern that the policy review processes within the department have been delayed since the beginning of the Sixth Administration due to many challenges, including instability due to a change in executive authority. The delays in the reviews of the White Paper are also slowing down the legislative review processes. We call on the department to ensure that the policy review process is finalised in the remaining period of this Sixth Administration. The African National Congress supports Budget
38 of Tourism. I thank you.

Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Hon Acting House Chair, Al Jama-ah supports this budget. We welcome the R87,1 million over the medium-term set aside to boost and promote small, medium and micro enterprises which include women and youth as well as the further financial assistance to the fund to enhance and
capacitate black-owned tourism enterprises. The R300 million set aside by tourism safety should be of last benefit to small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs, that are situated in highest areas as much we need safety monitors by ... [Inaudible.] ... parks, botanical gardens, SMMEs also need safety monitors to help them get customers. This has recently expressed the need for United Front comprising of government, private sector and tourism stakeholders to help tourism grow in the country.

The recent statistics for the first quarter revealed a promising growth in tourism to South Africa. Therefore, we like to commend the Minister and the portfolio committee for that. I’ve also been encouraged by the Deputy Minister who is fast-tracking e-visas as you know that my ancestors come from Indonesia, and they want to visit. When you go to Indonesia you get the visa on arrival, but they had to go through the onerous process of applying. They want to come to Cape Town, and when I spoke to the ambassadors, they said that 10 million Indonesians want to come to Cape Town. However, they are coming to Cape Town for the wrong reasons. Obviously, they want to visit us their offspring, but they think that in the streets of Cape Town there are elephants and lions.
Therefore, the Minister of Tourism who was a former mayor of Cape Town can ... [Inaudible.] ... assist that we have some lions and elephants walking in the streets of Cape Town.
However, I want to use my last minute to promote ... [Inaudible.] ... village, Minister. There are 12 operators in
... [Inaudible.] ... village which is a fishing village close Umtata. President Thabo Mbeki is owning that precinct and they need their ... [Inaudible.] ... to be upgraded to six-star level to attract tourism, and especially those interested in fishing. I hope the Minister will consider assisting these 12 enterprises in ... [Inaudible.] ... village. The Minister must not just focus on the metro areas, she must also focus on villages. That was the wish of President Ramaphosa when he was elected the President in his state of the nation address and that was a first instruction President Ramaphosa gave to the new Deputy President to do work in the villages. I hope the Minister will start with ... [Inaudible.] ... village. Al Jama-ah is prepared ... [Inaudible.] [Time expired.]

Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Acting House Chairperson, at the outset allow me to advise you that the National Freedom Party will support the Budget Vote tabled here today. It is the right thing to do. Allow me also to draw the attention of this House
that the airport in Gaza was bombed and destroyed by the Israeli government restricting tourism to Palestine and more importantly, there are check points all over the Gaza and the West Bank restricting any movement of tourists moving into, particularly, Palestine ... [Interjections.] ... I agree with you, sir. Thank you very much.

Now, the tourism sector in the country does not and cannot be enhanced only by the department itself. I think we must be honest that there are other role-players. One good example is when tourists coming to this country, they need to be safe and secure. Therefore, there need to be some level of engagement between the Department of Tourism and the Department of Safety and Security of the SA Police Service. However, in addition to that is in the infrastructure, the perception of South Africa in the international arena.

Now, what do we do in this House and the way we conduct ourselves and the statements that we make impact on what international travellers feel about South Africa ... [Interjections.] ... yes, indeed. And to a very large extent many of them that I have spoken to do not want to come to South Africa. They don’t want to come to South Africa is
because of the negative things they hear about South Africa, because all we do is we’re living in a negative world. We only score points by all the negative things we sow.

However, if you ask us what positive things you are doing in improving the quality of life of people, very little or nothing. Some of you make it clear that problems only exist with the governing party rules. That is not the case. Have you ever been to the Cape Flats? Maybe you should spend a weekend, and let’s go there together and see what life is for the people in the Cape Flats. That’s why you will know that tourists don’t want to come into the Western Cape. Even though many of them do, and more and more want to. The problem is this, yes, it's not because of what you are doing. Tourists are coming here because the Western Cape is a tourist attraction, not because you have done anything special or anything ... [Interjections.]

That is not the case. That is not the case. People come to the Western Cape because it has got beautiful ocean and it has got the Table Mountain. Did you create it? Did you put it there?
It has nothing to do with it. Let’s be honest about it. It’s
something you inherited. That is the thing ... [Interjections.]

You have done nothing to enhance those. That is basically what it is. Therefore, what you are forgetting is that when people arrive here, they have to fly the whole Khayelitsha and all the informal settlements. The National Freedom Party will support this Budget Vote. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Ms H ISMAIL: Acting House Chair, South Africa has vast potential to expand its tourism industry. With our pleasant climate, friendly people, and a rich cultural diversity, we should be a top choice for international travellers. Yet, we still face numerous challenges such as safety concerns, unco- ordinated efforts among stakeholders, high levels of corruption, load shedding and reluctance to fully integrate into the global tourism ecosystem. This is exacerbated by the ruling ANC government’s failure to create a conducive environment for tourism businesses.

In 2019, we attracted 15,8 million foreign tourists. However, South Africa’s figures dropped by 47% to 4,5 million foreign arrivals in 2022, due to the coronavirus disease 2019, Covid-
19, pandemic. This is almost more than 11 million less than what Egypt, one of Africa’s biggest tourism markets, receives in a year. High levels of corruption have augmented this decline, creating an unfavourable environment for international tourists and local businesses. These dismal numbers underscore the need for a more effective and strategic approach to attract international tourists and combat corruption as resources meant for development and promotion are misused or misallocated.

Furthermore, our African neighbours constituted nearly 75% of our foreign arrivals between January and December 2022, yet government has not prioritised these inbound tourists, further hindering the growth of our tourism sector. Safety is paramount for the success of tourism in South Africa.
Unfortunately, sporadic xenophobic attacks and the recent riots have tarnished our reputation as a desirable destination. The ANC government has failed to prioritise keeping South Africans and tourists safe, allowing these perceptions to fester.

South African Tourism, which receives a staggering 53% of the tourism budget, has been plagued by scandals and instability.
The current budget for Tourism has decreased, yet the department is expected to produce more. This calls for more effective resource use and prudent spending, rather than investing in billion rand pipe dream projects. Minister De Lille must address this issue, strive for greater transparency and accountability, and demonstrate a commitment to revitalising this crucial industry. Covid has given us the opportunity to build a well-oiled local tourism industry based on leisure travel with niche offerings. During our oversight visits across the country, we found numerous unfinished projects which stand as white elephants.

Initiatives like Sho’t Left Travel Week are insufficient to entice the average South African to explore their own backyard. The closure of Funworld in Durban is a stark reminder that government must provide some incentives for big businesses to continue investing in tourism activities and laying out the capital for big tourism infrastructure events and business. This, along with the collapse of the M4 bridge last year, exemplify the ANC government’s inability to maintain basic infrastructure, which is vital for boosting visitor numbers. Travel for South Africans should be accessible, affordable, and safe. ANC arrogance in the
industry must be replaced with efficiency, competitiveness, and an incentive-driven approach.

For our tourism budget programmes to be more effective, they must be more inclusive and cater to people with disabilities and special needs. The principle of leave no one behind should not be merely a buzzword, but a guiding principle throughout the implementation of tourism initiatives. The need for global brands to bring change, competition, agility, skills, and global best practice is even more relevant today. These brands play a key role in attracting a fair market share purely by being in a destination.

If tourism can successfully rebound after the Covid-19 chaos and decades of ANC rule, it will recapture its capability to be a major employer. Pre-Covid statistics show that it contributed 4,5% of total employment in South Africa and remained resilient in tough economic times. We will, once again, look to tourism to mend the current 32% unemployment rate. This was evident as the DA run Western Cape generated 99% of all jobs in the last quarter of 2022, most of which were in the tourism sector.
The industry remains highly dynamic and influenced by consumer preferences and market trends. The private sector is generally more responsive to these changes and can adapt quickly to new trends and demands. Now, in contrast, government bureaucracies are slower to respond, limiting the growth of the sector.
Increased private sector participation in South Africa’s tourism industry will lead to the development of unique experiences and attractions that appeal to a wider range of tourists.

The decentralisation of the tourism sector is essential for its effective functioning. A decentralised approach allows for more localised decision-making, which can lead to the development of region-specific tourism strategies. This is more effective than a top-down approach, as regional stakeholders have a better understanding of local resources, attractions, and challenges. We must be more strategic in attracting tourists and addressing challenges including taxation, travel marketing, infrastructure issues, security, cross-border regulations and load shedding. The ANC government must prioritise co-operation and coordination among various departments. By encouraging more private sector participation, the tourism industry can become more self-sustainable and less
dependent on government support which can lead to more consistent growth, as the sector will not be as vulnerable to changes in government budgets and policies.

Despite these clear paths to improvement, the ANC government has struggled to address these fundamental issues. Their inability to get even the basics right has stifled the growth of our tourism industry and the absence of political will in addressing the fundamental issues facing South African Tourism is concerning. Come 2024 voters have a real opportunity to give the economy and tourism a jumpstart by voting this incompetent ANC government out. [Time expired.]

Ms L S MAKHUBELE-MASHELE: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee, hon members of the portfolio committee, ladies and gentlemen, along to ... [Inaudible.] ... from the vision statement of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030, and I quote:

We, the people of South Africa, have journeyed far since the long lines of our first democratic election in 1994. We
elected a government for us all. We began to tell a new story then. We have lived and renewed that story along the way.

If we are to attain the goal of Vision 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan, NDP, fundamental reforms are needed to revive economic growth in all sectors. South Africa needs a new consensus born out of a common understanding ... [Interjections.]

Mr H G APRIL: Chairperson, on a point of order: The speaker has been consistently drowned and may you please make a ruling on that because we cannot hear what she is saying.

The CHAIRPERSON (Mr M G Mahlaule): No, the speaker is being heckled.

Mr H G APRIL: This thing of saying, shut up!

The CHAIRPERSON (Mr M G Mahlaule): I can still hear what she is saying. Please, continue. May we please not use that language. Hon Paulsen, hon Paulsen, you repeat that I am throwing you out - for that word, shut up.
An hon MEMBER: [Inaudible.]

The CHAIRPERSON (Mr M G Mahlaule): Are you challenging what I am saying?

Ms L S MAKHUBELE-MASHELE: South Africa needs a new consensus born out of a common understanding of our current challenges and situation recognising the need to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. There is a need to acknowledge that we are all in this together, across all sectors. In the tourism sector the measures and policy reforms to support our economic recovery are steadily yielding results. This is evident by the number of tourists arrivals recorded in January 2023, which was an increase of about 125% compared to the same month in 2022. All regions across the world experience growth in tourists’ arrival during the month of January compared to the same month in the previous year.
This is most definitely a good sign of recovery within the sector which is welcomed with much enthusiasm as it promises to create more jobs for our people, reduce poverty as well as increase the share in the GDP thereby bringing economic growth and stability.
The Tourism recovery plan and its three main pillars which are reigniting demand, rejuvenating supply and strengthening enabling capabilities are on check. We acknowledge that the plan is inclusive and co-ordinated within other departments such as Home Affairs, Police and social partners in the private sector. This is commendable.

The department has allocated around R940 million over the The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, period for the Expanded Public Works Programme under the destination development programme. While it is disappointing to see that
the allocation for this programme has decreased by 18% in real terms, we acknowledge that the Expanded Public Works Programme still remains an effective programme to employ many young people, women, persons living with disabilities as well as small, medium and micro enterprises.

The Portfolio Committee on Tourism request the department to pay special attention to villages, townships and small dorpies. As we have committed this in the Sixth administration. Over the MTEF, period the department has targeted to increase around 12 000 work opportunities in villages, townships and small dorpies. In this regard the ANC
supports the targets set out by the department to implement special planning and infrastructure programme over the MTEF period to build capacity in townships and rural economies. We also welcome that the department is working to maintain infrastructure on properties managed by the SA National Parks.

Hon Minister, almost all 30 community-based projects that are implemented throughout the country with a budget of around R570 million are failed projects. We note this with concern that a number of infrastructure projects are not in good shape and there is no empirical evidence of the value of the money as physical oversight by us has exposed that the reality is that these projects cannot be accounted for as they either nonexistence, dilapidated or have been vandalised. We take this very seriously and implore the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, to get to the bottom of this investigation so that people are held accountable with urgency.

We remain concerned about the role of the Development Bank of South Africa and seek to get clarity in the portfolio committee, why they have not yet started working on a number of projects that they have been allocated to?
It is also worrying the access to some of these tourists attractions is hampered by the poor road infrastructure. South African roads are no longer only dangerous to the citizens but have become a barrier to tourism growth. The poor road infrastructure with its associated deadly potholes have a potential to exclude certain attractions from being included in tour itineraries. We hope that working with the Department of Transport these issues will be speedily addressed.

Crime in our country has reached alarming levels and continues to be one of the major concerns raised by tourists as they look to travel to South Africa. Criminals targeting tourists seem to be more brazen. We call on government departments working with social partners to intensify efforts to fight crime led by the SA Police Service, SAPS, by implementing an integrated tourist safety action plan through the net joins.
More tourist monitors must be placed on the field and trained.

We welcome over the medium-term the department also intends to implement a number of capacity building programmes to benefit around 2 500 unemployed youth trained on norms and standards for the safety of tourists and its operations. We however
implore on the department to provide more clarity and define the plan for this programme.

Hon members, we cannot overemphasise as the Portfolio Committee on Tourism the obvious conflict of interest that we have seen, or we seem to see with the chairperson of the board, Mr Tim Harris. The Portfolio Committee on Tourism, hon Minister, is now calling upon you to consider the committee’s resolutions on issues of including more people on the tourism board. We do not say this to instruct you, but we are saying that find it in yourself or consider the recommendations coming from the Portfolio Committee on Tourism. We want to overemphasise the fact that we do not want to instruct you, hon Minister. We want you to consider it. The three-member board will not take us anywhere. The three member-board seems to have persons within them that are conflicted, and we are using this platform currently to plead with you in this budget policy statement as it is yours. We want you to consider this from the portfolio committee.

We cannot also overemphasise that we are supporting the appropriated budget for Budget Vote 38: Tourism with conditions. We are saying as the portfolio committee that we
have pinned what should be met by both the department and its entities for them to utilise this budget. We acknowledge the fact that the 53% that we are appropriating that will be transferred to the SA Tourism, SAT, do not have people to implement the budget. It is as we are giving money to people who would not have the capacity to utilise the budget hence, we are approving or supporting this budget with conditions.

As the ANC we have clearly spelled out and pin down what should happen to the budget that should be transferred to SAT. The ANC fully support Budget Vote 38: Tourism as we know that it talks to the inclusive economic growth. The tourism sector has the potential to ensure that tourism grows the economy as we are saying that this is no hanging fruit. More persons are employed in the tourism sector hence we know that this budget will be a conduit for us to alleviate poverty, inequality and poverty.

We are imploring on you hon Minister and the department to ensure that you safely ensure that the department is steered to the right direction. We acknowledge the fact that some of these issues were inherited. We cannot pin or assign them to you, hon Minister. However, working with the portfolio
committee and the department will ensure that we all move towards the direction that will bring Tourism to its stability and its glory days. We as the ANC support Budget Vote 38: Tourism.

The MINISTER OF TOURISM: I want to thank hon members for their support of the Budget Vote and commit that we will work together to take our tourism sector to the next level. What I couldn’t mention in my speech because of time constraints is that I have had a meeting with the South African Township and Village Tourism Association, and we are now working together for the plan for tourism in villages and to ensure our communities ...

The issue of safety, there is a 2018 strategy adopted by various stakeholders including government and the private sector. We are meeting in Johannesburg on Monday 29th with all those sectors to look at getting real implementation plan of the 2018 strategy to deal with the issue of safety, and this includes the police and the private sector.

On the issue of infrastructure, we are already reviewing our memorandum of agreement the Development Bank of Southern
Africa, DBSA, we are not compliant with the 2020 agreement, and I said we cannot pursue the non-compliant agreement, let’s fix the agreement, and I had a meeting with the DBSA yesterday and they agreed to that and we are going to work together with Infrastructure South Africa also to look at the holistic plan for infrastructure.

This whole issue about Brand SA and SA Tourism, we must understand that these are in two different Ministries and two different budgets. Brand SA sits under The Presidency and Government Communication and Information System, they have their budget there and they report to Minister Ntshavheni. We had one meeting with Minister Ntshavheni and we both agreed that we need to complete the feasibility study and then present the memorandum to Cabinet to make that happen and look at bringing the two entities together.

I want to conclude with the issue of South African Tourism as an entity. I think we all agree that we inherited the mess; a mess with a dysfunctional board, allegations of corruption, acting positions with people acting for more than 18 months, and that is why it so important that we have appointed a board of three members until we establish a new board. We must make
sure that board members have the capabilities. We are behaving as if there isn’t a full board coming. We must read section 10 and 11 and look at the functions and role of the board and then invent functions for that. I want to say that the three board members that I have appointed until the new board comes, they have the capabilities and the experience. [Interjections.] Yes, you can say what you want to say, they are there and have already done a lot of things, and I have confidence that until the new board come, we will be able to get to the work.

There is this leaked letter that is claimed to be written by a chartered accountant. So, I asked ... [Inaudible.] ... to read the leaked letter because in that letter, she is requesting for a schedule of decisions of delegations of authority that happened before the board arrived. So, please read the ... [Inaudible.] ... properly, then you can start attacking us.

Thank you, House Chairperson, I do want to say to the portfolio committee and all the members that, yes, there are many challenges, and we acknowledge them. Together with the private sector, the portfolio committee, and the rest of government, we are going to take tourism to the next level.
Stop the bickering and the unnecessary diversion of attention, let’s focus on action plan. I am committed to make sure that we take tourism to the next level. I thank you.

The CHAIRPERSON (Mr M G Mahlaule): Hon members, order! You are reminded that the debate on Trade, Industry and Competition Budget Vote will take place at 17h15 in the Good Hope Chamber.

Debate concluded.

The mini-plenary session rose at 16:49.




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