Budget Debate Vote Speech – Tourism

Budget Vote 33 Tourism

Honourable Speaker, Last week the Sunday Times reported that Cape Town, our most premier tourist destination, was named as possibly becoming the “world’s most dangerous city”. Furthermore, Tourism in the Ugu district municipality has been stifling due to the current draught it is experiencing. How does South Africa expect to encourage tourism when crime rates and the lack of adequate water planning and management have spiraled out of control?

With the 1.5 million jobs and the R425.8 billion rand contributed to the economy in 2018, the tourism sector makes up 8.6% of the country’s economic activity, as well as making our country the largest tourism economy on the continent.

It is obvious that tourism is of paramount importance to our growth and economic development. The tourism sector alone contributes significantly to job creation as well as generating a significant increase in our gross domestic product (GDP). The tourism sector needs to not only be properly managed but nurtured and safeguarded to ensure, its economic viability and continued growth.

South Africa has a disastrous crime record and yet government has the responsibility to ensure the safety of tourists when our people are not safe. Our Murder rates in 2018 increased by 7% around the country last year which sets South Africa at 57 murders per day and rapes increasing to 40 035 cases a year, that does not include the murders and rapes that go unreported. How many tourists want to visit South Africa with these statistics when there is a high chance for them to fall victim to these violent crimes. The ANC politicians and ministers cannot assure other governments of safety of their citizens visiting South Africa as they do not even have a handle on crime in South Africa. We have been accustomed to seeing the link between party politicians, political violence and gang related crimes amongst others. This lack of guidance can even be seen in President Ramaphosa’s prioritieses safe communities and social cohesion but does not go on to explain how he seeks to achieve this.

The IFP is the only party that can provide leadership in this regard, and we recommend that government must implement violence prevention programs such as those recommended by the Moerane Commission.

The performance of SAPS needs to be thorough and significantly improved with a priority on the safety of citizens and tourists in order to encourage the tourism sector that contributes so vitally to our GDP. If you cannot ensure the safety of your own communities and people, why would South Africa even be considered as a worthwhile tourist destination?

As crime continues to plague our communities, the nightmare of no power and no water continues for many South Africans. According to Johannesburg Water, load shedding has a disastrous impact on water supply as their pumps, which utilise electricity, are severely hampered in performing o their function – to pump water. This is not only limited to Johannesburg as it could take place throughout the country with UGU facing huge water shortages. The lack of planning to ensure both power and water must simply be seen as a crime against the state. The impact of having no water or running on water restrictions, condemns a community to; realise a loss of jobs, income, poverty and loss of tourism.

Minister, we want to know what plans and strategies you have in place to work with your colleagues and Ministers in the Department of Justice, Police, Water and Sanitation, Public Works, Mineral Resources and Energy and Environment to, specifically negate the issue of crime and water shortages for the strategic development of the tourism sector. In effect Minister your colleagues in cabinet are causing a shibobo for you as your department and its success is dependent on their cooperation.

The IFP recommends that, in the meantime you as a department you start to look at alternative sources of water collection and safety for tourism. For instance, the department could assist local tourist destinations with information as to the availability of underground water or incentives for those establishments that are able to harvest water to be used for toilets, lawns and other non-potable water reliant activities.

With regard to safety the department must work around the clock with the relevant departments to provide more dedicated satellite police stations, directly placed in tourist hotspots and destinations that employ locals who are vested in promotion of safety.

These measures provided by the IFP and strategies that you will soon provide the nation with must largely; be focused for the agritourism sector. The tourism development of rural areas must take center stage in this department’s agenda and place South Africa as the number 1 tourist destination for agritoursim. By promoting this sector in tourism government will start to receive more foreign direct investment and higher levels of foreign spending in rural communities. Communities will start to develop, jobs will be created and villages and towns will be able to start to sustain themselves. Minister this sector requires your vision and willingness of cooperation from all. We all have a role to play and hope that you will work closely with the opposition to advance the interests of the entire country and not just your comrades.

The IFP supports this budget as a demonstration to show our willingness to work and engage together on these issues, I thank you

Mr KP Sitole,