During a National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Select Committee meeting with the Department of Tourism and other stakeholders on Tuesday, 15th September, I called on the Minister of "No" Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi Ngubane, to engage with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to expedite inter-governmental co-operation between their departments and urgently fix basic infrastructure in tourism hotspots across South Africa.
The proposal was instantly rejected by the Deputy Minister of Tourism who advised that all such problems such as tourism in municipalities would be solved by the ANC's 'pie in the sky' District Development Model, even though this model will take years to implement.
The dilemma before the committee was exacerbated by the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) MEC for Tourism, Nomusa Dube, who lyrically waxed about fixing infrastructure with a call for patience while the provincial government flounders.
Under Dube's watch as previous MEC for CoGTA, the tourism mecca of the Lower South Coast of KZN has become completely dysfunctional, with continuous water and electricity woes.
The simple truth is that tourists, whether domestic or international, will simply not spend their cash in areas that have a record of unstable water and electricity supply. Hundreds of tourism establishments are closing and thousands are losing their jobs due to the massive failure of local governments to create an environment that they need to operate.
Tourism is South Africa's gold and yet, is an underperforming sector that has the potential to employ many of those who have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The national lockdown itself has left a profoundly damaging effect on the industry, with more expected job losses in the future.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Ramaphosa to institute an inter-ministerial task team between the concerned Ministers to urgently formulate and implement interventions that will fix basic infrastructure in local government and allow tourism to play a vital role in South Africa's economic recovery.
The DA will always fight for a government that creates an environment in which individuals and their businesses can prosper.