The Western Cape Government is investing into the Kannaland

By Beverly Schäfer MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture:

The Western Cape Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism have spent more than R32 million on the Kannaland municipality between 2011 and 2014.

The Department of Agriculture put in place initiatives that are aimed at improving access to opportunity, amounting to R31,589,322.

These initiatives include:

  • Distributing learnership and HET application forms to students at Ladismith Secondary
  • Distributing learnership and HET application and bursary forms at Kentland Municipality
  • Farm worker development where Life skills  and substance abuse awareness and prevention for farm worker took place
  • R50 000 Donation towards farm worker initiatives during the Calitzdorp Port and Wine Festival
  • R72,239 donation to Child and family Welfare in Ladismith for Life skills development

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism also has initiatives in place, which include business retention and expansion training, tools to measure economic potential and develop action plans as well as Local Economic Development Maturity assessments. The Department of Economic Development committed a total of R1,600,690.

These are only some of the initiatives that are run by the Western Cape Government in its dedicated effort to ensure that not only basic services are supplied to the Kannaland region, but providing opportunities to the communities.

Western Cape to launch global culture and heritage tourism campaign

The Western Cape will embark on a global campaign to promote the region’s unique culture and heritage tourism offering.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, made the announcement ahead of Heritage Day tomorrow.

As part of his Tourism Month campaign, Minister Winde this morning (23 September 2015) joined the award-winning Cape Town on Foot and Bo-Kaap walks tour.

The tour, which has been awarded with Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, takes visitors through the city centre, the Company’s Garden and Bo-Kaap.

The Western Cape’s growth strategy, Project Khulisa, has identified tourism as a key growth sector.

“The tourism sector employs over 200 000 people and has the potential to add up to a further 100 000 jobs to the economy. To reach our growth objectives, we have devised a series of action plans informed by global tourism players and the private sector. In the middle of putting our plans together, I had the opportunity to meet with Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization. He confirmed that South Africa’s unique strength was its culture and heritage, and specifically the legacy Madiba left us. It is time for us to embrace and celebrate our unique heritage by showcasing it to the world.

“As part of its culture and heritage tourism strategy, the Western Cape Government will drive the development of a Madiba Legacy Route, which will trace our former president’s journey to historical landmarks in the Western Cape. One of my proposals to do this is to create a statue of Madiba at the exact site he delivered his monumental speech after his release.”

Minister Winde said next year, the Western Cape Government, Wesgro and the private sector would kick off the development of a global culture and heritage tourism campaign.

“Culture and heritage tourism creates economic opportunities for residents and also celebrates the rich diversity of our province.”

Minister Winde joins award-winning CBD walking tour for Heritage and Tourism Month celebrations

Media Adivsory:

\Ahead of Heritage Day, Economic Opportunities Minister, Alan Winde, will join the Cape Town on Foot and Bo-Kaap walks which explores the city’s historical landmarks.

As part of his Tourism Month programme, Minister Winde will join the walking tour on Wednesday (23 September 2015).

The walk’s route takes visitors through the city centre, the Company’s Garden and Bo-Kaap. The tour has been awarded with Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence.

The Western Cape’s growth strategy, Project Khulisa, has identified heritage tourism as an important niche to dramatically accelerate jobs and growth in this key sector of the province.

Minister Winde will discuss our plans to grow the Western Cape’s heritage and cultural tourism sector.

DETAILS:

 

DATE:             23 September 2015

TIME:               11am – 1:30pm (NEW STARTING TIME IS 11:30)

VENUE:           Starting point at Cape Town Tourism, Burg Street

 

Trollip to present 5-point turnaround plan for tourism

Media Advisory:

On Monday, 21 September 2015, in recognition of Tourism Month, the DA will present a turnaround strategy for tourism in Nelson Mandela Bay, with Athol Trollip presenting a rescue plan to the media at The Springs Holiday Resort, a neglected tourism location near Uitenhage.

Tourism is instrumental in boosting the economy as it provides a wealth of jobs, attracts foreign exchange and draws both public and private income. In addition to this, it promotes cultural diversity and geographical publicity.

The DA is commited to creating jobs so that the people of NMB can be afforded the opportunity to live independent and empowered lives.

The event will take place as follows:

Venue: The Springs Holiday Resort, 2km outside of Uitenhage along the R75 in the direction of Kirkwood
Date: 21 September 2015
Time: 11:00am

There will be opportunities for interviews and photographs

DA wants answers over Ezemvelo CEO’s ‘amicable’ settlement

By Ann McDonnell, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA):

THE DA will today submit written parliamentary questions to KZN EDTEA MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu following the announcement that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has reached an “undisclosed settlement agreement” and “parted ways amicably” with suspended CEO, Bandile Mkhize.

The news comes almost a year after Mkhize’s suspension following the implementation of a new organisational structure at the provincial environmental body which saw high-ranking officials receive massive pay hikes.  The move supposedly caused considerable stress and upset to other employees which had negatively affected service delivery.

Ezemvelo has defended its decision to come to an agreement with Dr Mkhize on the basis that the situation was creating instability and attracting negative publicity for the organisation.

The DA has several concerns around this decision.

As a public entity, Ezemvelo is answerable to the people of KZN.  Details regarding the spending of funds therefore belong in the public domain.

The entity’s unwillingness to provide this information points to a veil of secrecy which cannot be tolerated.

The DA will submit the following questions to MEC Mabuyakhulu today;

–          Was Dr Mkhize’s package a buy out of the four year balance of his contract or a negotiated amount?

–          Were any recoveries made from the over payments to senior officials which was the basis of the suspension?

–          Has any action been introduced to deal with non-performance by contractors (roads) as part of the infrastructure projects under Dr Mkhize’s management?

The DA regards the department’s decision to walk away as questionable given its mandate of good governance and proper monitoring of its entities.

In allowing this matter to be closed without any real consequence it has set a dangerous precedent – one which absolves high-ranking officials from accountability.

Western Cape submits detailed visa regulations impact review to National Government

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, has submitted a comprehensive review of the impact of the visa regulations to the National Government, with a request that it be taken into account by the inter-ministerial committee convened to assess the new rules.

The new information formed part of an analysis conducted by the Western Cape Government’s Red Tape Reduction Unit.

Minister Winde has shared the unit’s analysis with the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who heads the inter-ministerial committee investigating the impact of the regulations.

“The visa regulations are impacting various areas of our economy. The report shows that a major hotel group is estimating a decrease in revenue of R2.5 million, based on a comparison of total room revenue for the period June 2013 to December 2014.

“Two major international conferences hosted in South Africa recently also reported a 71% and 45% decrease in attendance figures. Taking into account that conference delegates are estimated to spend R3200 per day during their stay in the country, this drop is attendance is worrying.

“One of the key concerns remains the National Department of Home Affairs’ administrative capacity to support these regulations. The population of children in South Africa amounts to approximately 17 million. Although it is not expected that all of these children will apply for unabridged birth certificates, based on the existing capacity constraints, the Department of Home Affairs will not be able to deal with any sort of meaningful increase in demand for their services in a timeous and efficient manner.”

The analysis outlines the following:

  • The impact of the changes for each visa type;
  • The economic impact in key sectors;
  • Comparison with the visa systems of other countries, including BRICS;
  • Recommendations to streamline South Africa’s visa application system

Focusing on specific impacts, Minister Winde highlighted medical tourism as one of the sectors which had been hit hard.

“This sector generates R9.8 billion for the national economy and attracts 500 000 visitors. Prior to the implementation of the regulations, visitors from the SADC region opted to apply for tourist visas which would allow them to stay for 90 days. Should they need more than three months to recover, they would be able to apply for a temporary residence visa. In many cases, medical tourists are not able to pre-empt the amount of time they will need to recover. Under the new regulations they would have to return to their country of origin, possibly at great risk to their health.”

Minister Winde said the country comparison showed that South Africa’s regulations were far more stringent than its BRICS partner countries.

“Brazil and India offer online visa applications, while Russia allows visitors to apply for a 30-day tourist visa on arrival. According to the South African regulations, visitors must apply in person at a South African embassy in their home country, and undergo biometric fingerprint scanning.”

Kindly see the full report here:

Final Report_Analysis of New Immigration Regulations

Visa Regulations squeezes business out of South Africa

By Beverley Schäfer MPL, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture:

The new Immigration Regulations as well as the Immigration Amendment Act, 2011 [Act No. 13 of 2011] came into effect on 26 May 2014 with no opportunity for stakeholder engagement. These regulations have since pushed the tourism industry into recession.

I call on the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, to provide a report on the progress of the inter-ministerial committee. We need an urgent review of the regulations implemented by Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba.

South Africa’s Tourism Business Index report shows that business performance levels across the Tourism Value Chain has dropped from 99.9 points in the first quarter, to 83.6 points in the second quarter. The Economic Freedom of the World report has put South Africa at 96 among 157 countries reviewed, down 54 places in the last 15 years. The damage is not limited to the tourism industry, as Tata has indicated that SA’s visa and work permit policies might lead to a drive out of the country, preferring to set up their its headquarters in Tanzania. This will result in further job losses, something that South Africa can ill afford.

Ill-informed and hasty implementation of these regulations has already cost the economy thousands of jobs, and it might have destroyed a window of opportunity with the weakened rand to improve South Africa’s competitiveness. The Deputy President must draw a line in the sand and put an end to Minister Gigaba’s destructive Visa Regulations, which are negatively impacting South Africa’s economic climate, while there is still time to undo some of its damage.

  • We urgently need to place a moratorium on the new unabridged birth certificates to assist the tourism industry to bounce back from the dip in international visitor arrivals. In the medium term, we need implement less onerous requirements, as per international best practice.
  • The demand for biometrics of our visitors in China and India must be scrapped until we can obtain biometric information on arrival.
  • A task force must be set up to urgently look at how we can streamline visa and work permit policies, to maintain South Africa’s place as the preferred destination for business on the continent.

The decline in the tourism industry and the threat of multi-national corporations leaving South Africa, should be enough to prompt urgent action. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs stubbornly ignores the crippling impact of the Visa Regulations. The ANC’s disdain for business and blind obsession with state regulation is now costing the economy dearly.

Unprecedented scientific discovery holds huge potential for Mogale City tourism

By Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale City:

The unprecedented discovery of fossils at Maropeng in the Cradle of Human Kind in Mogale City is not only exciting from a scientific point of view, but if managed correctly, could make a huge contribution towards uplifting the economy and the quality of life for people of the West Rand.

The discovery, which was made in 2013 and embargoed until today, contributes towards our understanding of the origins of humankind.

According to Prof Lee Berger, the leader of the expedition that discovered the fossils, the scientific impact of this discovery makes a huge contribution to our understanding of human ancestry and is a once-in-a-lifetime find.

It has drawn palaeontologists and other scientists from across the world to Maropeng for the lifting of the embargo and the first public announcement of the impact of the discovery.

Visitors to many countries in the world often feel duty bound to visit famous tourist attractions before heading home.

On the basis of this discovery, Maropeng could become one such tourist attraction, and viewed in the same light as the Giza pyramids in Egypt, Alcatraz prison in San Fransisco or the Taj Mahal in India.

However, this depends entirely on the management of this famous site in Mogale and how it is packaged for the tourist market.

This is an opportunity that is not likely to come along any time soon, and we dare not mismanage it.

The future of the West Rand’s economy may depend on it.

Premier David Mabuza must urgently intervene in Sabie crisis

By James Masango MPL, Spokesperson on CoGTA:

Premier David Mabuza must urgently intervene in the violent service delivery protest action currently taking place in Sabie. This action compromises tourism in one of Mpumalanga’s popular tourist attraction and might also lead to job losses.

Protests in the small tourist town which is situated in the Thaba Chweu Local municipality, started in June this year where residents are demanding among other things the following:

  • Immediate halt of current water and electricity cut-offs carried out by the Thaba Chweu local municipality,
  • Immediate scrapping of debts incurred during Apartheid regime and arrears which apparently piled up due to a “false and fraudulent” billing system,
  • Return of land to municipality which is alleged to have been unfairly expropriated by forestry firms as the only alternative to address housing challenges in Sabie,
  • Permission for people to occupy and make use of all identified sites as stated in the Integrated Development Plans for Sabie,
  • Immediate return of land sold out to private developers who reportedly failed to further develop the land as initially envisaged,
  • Immediate halt of illegal, unfair, and unlawful appointments within the municipality,
  • Immediate upgrading of all informal settlements as outlined in the National Development Plan,
  • The truth behind the occupied lands of the informal areas in Sabie to be revealed and the mismanagement, manipulation of various projects that benefits a few.

What concerns the DA the most is that, while residents are protesting, businesses and schools are also affected which compromises the education of our children and the economy of the town. This town depends mostly on tourism and the protests forces businesses to close doors.

The residents are also accusing senior Thaba Chweu municipal officials of spearheading unlawful practices which include nepotism and maladministration, amongst other things.

The Premier and CoGTA MEC, Refilwe Mtshweni, must ensure that the situation in Sabie is dealt with immediately. We cannot afford to add onto the current statistics on job losses in the province.

Province’s top tourism establishments to compete in national awards

By Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities:

The Western Cape’s top tourism performers, which were announced at the weekend, will represent the province’s sector at a national awards ceremony next month.

On Friday (4 September 2015), the winners of the Western Cape leg of the Lilizela Tourism Awards were announced at a gala event at Moyo, Kirstenbosch Gardens.

The awards are an initiative of the National Department of Tourism, in partnership with provincial tourism authorities, which seeks to honour excellence in the sector.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, congratulated the winners and thanked them for their contribution to the province’s economy.

“Globally, the Western Cape is recognised as a leading destination for leisure and business tourism. It is through the efforts of the 204 000 people employed in the tourism sector that we have been able to build and maintain this reputation. Project Khulisa has identified tourism as a growth sector which has the potential to add up to a further 100 000 jobs to the local economy. Residents will be important partners in reaching this goal.”

Minister Winde said the winners were selected based on customer votes and an adjudication process.

“The Lilizela Awards recognise service excellence, as voted for by tourists. Great service is one of the key factors in repeat visits and the Western Cape’s establishments have set a high standard for service excellence. We had a great showing last year and I wish our sector well ahead of this year’s national competition.”

This year, for the first time, the Minister’s Award was introduced at a provincial level. The winner of this award is chosen directly by the Minister, and is given to an establishment or person that has made an exceptional and special contribution to the industry.  “I was very pleased to present the inaugural Minister’s Award to the Cape Trails Partnership – Ashwell, Jason, Brendon and Denzel. These guys, from Grabouw, are building some of the world’s best and most recognisable mountain bike trails. They are making an enormous contribution to our cycling tourism economy, and I wish them success into the future,” said Minister Winde.

Provincial winners are entered into the national awards, which takes place on 22 October 2015 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

September is Tourism Month and Minister Winde’s official programme for the month includes showcasing heritage tourism with a ‘Cape Town on Foot’ walk. Minister Winde will also be visiting the Barn Khayelitsha later this month, with a focus on business support for local tourism enterprises.

Kindly see attached the full list of winners and a biography of the Minister’s Award winners, Cape Trails Partnership.

Lilizela Tourism Awards 2015 winners

Cape Trails _Lilizela Ministers Award