Head of NW Tourism must be replaced to save the tourism industry

By Jacqueline Theologo (MPL), DA North West Spokesperson for Tourism:

The Democratic Alliance in the North West is concerned that the trail of devastation by the Head of the Tourism Department  has now left its disastrous mark on the province.

The Auditor General (AG) highlighted Tourism Department Head, Charles Ndabeni’s poor management and administration, which resulted in underspending of the capital budget in the 2014/15 financial year.

A total of R46 million was not spent and had to be returned to the National Treasury. This will have a massive negative impact on tourism – one of the pillars of the economy in the province.

Ndabeni is no stranger to controversy with a widely publicised history of mismanagement and maladministration.

During the past decade, Ndabeni played a pivotal role in the destruction of both the former North West Parks and Tourism Board CEO and Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.

He, however, still enjoys protection by the ANC with which he is affiliated to.

In the same AG, report it is revealed that contracts of nearly R440 000 were irregularly awarded, some to suppliers who are connected with officials and others approved by unauthorised officials.

Projects remain unfinished and the failure to deliver is covered up with excuses.

Ndabeni is not fit to hold this senior position in the department. Tourism will suffer further if he is not removed from office with immediate effect.

The DA will write to the Public Service Commission to request a full investigation into Ndabeni’s fitness to hold office.

We will use every avenue to our disposal to expose mismanagement and maladministration and will continue with our efforts until the North West Tourism department returns to being an engine of growth and job creation for the provincial economy.

There is no doubt that tourism can be used as an effective tool to create jobs, provide opportunities for small businesses, promote livelihoods for communities and bring South Africans together to share experiences.