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Interviews with and presentations by the Minister of Tourism on Covid-19 02 May 2020 15:09 #1

These show the latest items first.

23 May 2020: Interview on CapeTalk after meeting between the tourism industry & the president on 22 May.
Click here: www.dropbox.com/s/8ibczpcs7o0vw41/AUD-20200523-WA0000.m4a?dl=0

May 11, 2020: Tourism minister to devise plan to save SA tourism industry post Covid-19
By Clinton Moodley, IOL

The travel industry has taken strain following the lockdown implemented by President Cyril Ramaphosa to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Due to travel restrictions, airlines and accommodation establishments have shut operations until further notice. Thankfully, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is busy putting together a tourism recovery plan to help the industry post-Covid-19.

Kubayi-Ngubane told IOL Travel that there is a need to start planning for the recovery of the industry post-Covid-19.

“The global nature of the pandemic means that the measures to curb the spread, such as travel restrictions and border closures have been a worldwide phenomenon. This means that any recovery planning that is not in line with global coordinated effort will be a futile exercise,” she said.

“As a department, we continue leading conversations with the tourism sector as we plan for the future towards a comprehensive recovery plan for the industry. Transformation will be an integral part of this plan, and we invite the sector to make submissions on what they think should be the character of the recovery of tourism after the current crisis.”

Kubayi-Ngubane believed in the risk adjusted approach, which will offer the department a framework to carve a path towards recovery for the tourism sector in South Africa.

She said coordination by tourism stakeholders was critical. In recent weeks, the tourism department has implemented many webinars to engage with various stakeholders. Kubayi-Ngubane revealed that, based on the Covid-19 epidemic expected trajectory, the tourism sector’s recovery will only begin to recover towards the end of 2020.

“The first phase of the recovery will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism and international tourism next year,” she said. Kubayi-Ngubane said numerous elements will go into the planning of the tourism recovery plan, including an analysis of the impact of the coronavirus on the global and domestic economy.

She will also analyse the impact of the virus on the demand and supply for each sub-sector of the tourism industry and look into the tourism recovery scenarios according to the epidemiological predictions. The plan will need to also align with international frameworks, and strategic interventions will be identified to revive the domestic supply side of tourism.

“I believe that if we can develop a plan within this framework, we will go a long way towards defining our country’s recovery plan for the tourism sector,” added Kubayi-Ngubane.

29 April 2020


April 29, 2020: SA Tourism hosted a webinar with Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Tourism, for the tourism industry.
Click here to see her presentation during that webinar.

CapeInfo watched the webinar the following day. It was the most embarrassing event - the minister's arrogance, lack of empathy and total disconnect with the industry she is supposed to lead and represent were cringe-worthy. How Sisa Ntshona, SA Tourism's CEO, could allow it to continue - notwithstanding the fact that she is his boss - made no sense. After telling viewers how important she is, fiddling with her background image until she found something to represent "Tourism" - Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - and then losing all concentration because her image was "bobbing"... she demonstrated that she really doesn't know how bad she actually is.

Public comments during the webinar:

April 28, 2020: The following opinion piece appeared on IOL on April 28, 2020 - the day before she participated in the SA Tourism webinar.

OPINION: Post Covid-19 recovery plan as travel, tourism have changed forever
By Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Tourism

The breakout of the Corona virus in the beginning of this year, which came as a shock to all of us, has plunged our country and the whole world into the worst recession since the 1929 great depression. Every sector of the economy has been negatively affected and travel and tourism sector, in particular, has been the worst hit.

In responding to the rapid spread of the virus, countries around the world put measures to ensure that they contain the spread.

These measures include closing the borders or travel restrictions and in some cases, similar to our country, countries have imposed a lockdown. This means that the supply and the demand side of the tourism have temporarily collapsed and as a result tourism has ground to a halt.

Before the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic, the South African economy was already in a precarious position. Our economy had not been growing at desirable levels for some time and as a result our debt to gross domestic product (GDP) was growing, our budget deficit was widening and SA Revenue Service was not collecting enough revenue to cover the needs of our population. This means that the pandemic found our economy in a very vulnerable state.

Meanwhile, in the past 10 years, the tourism sector has been growing faster than any other sector in South Africa and was amongst the best performing sectors in our economy.

The number of international arrivals grew from 8.1 million in 2011 to 10.2 million in 2019. Tourism directly contributed R130.2 billion (2.7 percent) to GDP in 2018 and an estimated R145.3bn (2.9 percent) of total GDP last year.

A total of 739 657 individuals were directly employed in the tourism sector in 2018, which means that 4.5 percent of the total workforce worked in the tourism sector.

Although we experienced a decline in the number of international arrivals between 2018 and 2019, indications are that the year 2020 was poised for an increase. According to Statistics SA, we recorded an increase in the number of arrivals in February 2020, compared to the same month in 2019.

However, the situation has drastically changed for the worst for the sector since the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are no longer receiving any international arrivals and it is uncertain when people around the world will start travelling again.

Restaurants have been closed and many are facing permanent closure. The Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, which represents vehicle rental and leasing companies that operate about 65 000 vehicles across the country reported that the sub-sector has seen a drastic contraction in demand due to both inbound tourism and all local travel and tourism activity declining. Contraction in the rental business thus far is estimated to be up to 80 percent – 90 percent.

The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry, as the nation’s largest organisation representing the interests of the business events trade and professionals, indicated that the global lockdown has resulted in cancellation of conferences and other events.

Initial estimates are that R746.8 million in business is lost due to cancellations, with potentially 6 039 jobs losses already.

Our government has put together relief programmes to assist businesses through these tough times. They may not be enough but they will go a long way to ensure that the sector survives this crisis.

For our part as the Department of Tourism we have put together the Tourism Relief Fund. The Tourism Relief Fund, which is a once-off grant assistance to small, micro- and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism value chain to ensure their sustainability during and post the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. Capped at R 50 000 per entity, the grant is aimed at assisting entities to cover fixed costs, operational costs, supplies and other pressure costs items.

Entities in the following categories of the tourism value chain are the eligible to apply:
  • Accommodation establishments: hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast (B&B’s), guest houses and backpackers.
  • Hospitality and related services: restaurants (not attached to hotels); conference venues (not attached to hotels), professional catering; attractions
  • travel and related services: tour operators; travel agents; tourist guiding; car rental companies; and coach operators.
The irony of it all is that – a day after Freedom Day – we are in Court defending the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment requirement in our criteria against Afriforum and Solidarity.

It is an irony because it is a day after we celebrate the sacrifices made by patriots to provide future generations with the opportunity to heal the divisions of the past and achieve social justice. How do organizations such Afriforum and Solidarity proudly celebrate freedom and democracy when they think that majority of South Africans are not good enough to participate meaningfully in the economy of their own country and especially in a sector such as tourism?

In his address on the 24th, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the adoption of a risk-adjusted strategy in opening up our economy. As the risk of the virus spread gradually reduces, the country will also gradually move towards level 1. The tourism sector will begin to experience significant operations at level 2 of the risk-adjusted strategy.

Similar to all other sectors of the economy, the tourism sector is also experiencing technological transformation, and this crisis helped to accelerate this transformation. Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions commonly referred to as MICE has experienced technological disruption and this might mean a partial collapse of the supply side of this market.

Because of the lockdown and travel restrictions globally and domestically, companies, organisations and individuals have adopted online video and audio conferencing technologies such as Zoom and Microsoft Meetings to conduct their meetings. From now hence, we are likely to see the rise of virtual meetings, conferences, exhibitions and conventions. This will have an immediate negative impact on the supply side of travel, accommodation, food and other activities because less people will be travelling.

Before this crisis we had launched a campaign called "Stay a night”. This campaign was aimed at business travellers who come to our shores to encourage them to stay an extra night or more before they go back home. As meetings and business events become more and more virtual our campaign will become irrelevant.

All of us have to appreciate that travel and tourism will never be the same, it has changed and it is changing. However, the beautiful places will still be there when the Covid-19 pandemic passes and people will still need places to visit and enjoy rest after they labour. We are, therefore, confident that tourism will recover, but the provision of certain tourism services will be altered forever. Some changes might be temporary until the world discovers a vaccine.

In the meantime, entrepreneurs in the sector have to grapple with some questions which include:
  • How will tour guiding look like in the time of social distancing?
  • Will group tours still be viable in the time of social distancing, if they are, in what form will they be?
  • What form will events, big and small, take in the time of social distancing?
  • What kind of procedures and actions will business owners need to perform to instil confidence in travellers that their accommodation facilities are safe?
  • Should restaurants that don’t do take-aways and delivery start revising their business models as the world might be witnessing the rise of the shut-in economy (indoor economy that is largely found in silicon valley).
  • If the pandemic persists for longer, is it possible that we could start seeing people adopting virtual reality as a way of visiting places?

We are confident that tourism will return to full operation and the South African Tourism (SAT) chief executive has been tasked with driving the process of developing the tourism recovery plan for South Africa. As part of the process SAT has been convening weekly webinars with various tourism stakeholders to get their inputs on the post-Covid-19 tourism sector.

So far three webinars have been convened and I will be leading another webinar this Wednesday. The recovery plan will present scenarios and a range of strategies that will be used to place the tourism sector back on the growth trajectory Post-Covid-19. I invite all you to make yourself available for this engagements because they will help us define the sector going forward.

Understanding Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane: SMME Sustainability Summit
30 Jul 2019
I would like to commend the The SMME Foundation, LSM Communications, NMT Capital and the Local Government Seta for bringing all of you together in this 2nd Annual SMME Sustainability Summit to share ideas on how to maintain the sustainability of your businesses.

Without doubt, to get our country on a growth trajectory requires a concerted effort by all sectors of society. To this end, the role played by small and medium enterprises in this effort cannot be overemphasized.

Today, the economy as a whole must contend with the reality of a rapidly changing business environment brought about by technological changes and advancements. Like other sectors of the economy, SMMEs are also affected by the developments on the technological plain.

This means that the business sector will need to reorganise enterprises under a difficult environment that has largely been impeded by stunted socio-economic transformation.

Admittedly, 25 years after democracy, we have achieved little by way of economic transformation. Accordingly, an untransformed economy is one of the biggest barriers to entry for SMMEs. The distribution of income remains skewed in favour of the few; which means that our modest economic benefits are still accruing to a small section of the population.

This poses a serious threat not only for our economic stability but to the stability of the democratic state. The levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality are too high, and to address these challenges requires that we transform the economy into a more inclusive and growing one.

Together with Minister Mantashe, I co-chair the economic cluster. Central to the discussions in the economic cluster is the attempt to answer the question: “What is it that all of us, as a country, need to do get the economy to work for everybody?”

This is not a simple question to answer. However, there is no doubt that we need to increase value-adding economic activity in our country so that we can create wealth and the jobs we need.

We live in a world in which a commodity produced in a far-away country has the potential to destroy a business in South Africa and in turn kill our jobs. It is therefore unavoidable that in responding to the question that I have posed, we must be mindful of the fact that we live in a world that is globalised and globalising. The efficiency of the productive activity in such a world is not measured in comparison to others within the confines of one country. Rather, such an activity must be measured against global standards of efficient production for it to be competitive and sustainable.

Just last week, I was invited to the launch of THD24, an online platform for streaming films and television shows created by our very own Tbo Touch. This is an exciting initiative which needs our support. He has entered a market that is very competitive. As much as he needs to worry about local television broadcasters such as SABC, Etv and Multichoice, his fiercest competitor is Netflix, an American company. The sustainability of his initiative in the long run will also be determined by how well the initiative performs against Netflix. This is why it is important that as we discuss the sustainability of SMMEs, we also consider the important issue of the impact of globalisation on SMMEs.

The launch I referred to also speaks to how much new technologies have transformed the way business is conducted. This has also radically changed the form in which consumers demand products and the way they consume these products. Linear television is no longer the only way in which people consume broadcast content. Digital platforms, which are also referred to as over-the-top services, such as Showmax, Netflix, THD24 and many others, provide on-demand content which customers are only too happy to access at their own convenience.

Many years ago, we would all have to rush to watch a film or television programme at a set time, because if we missed it, it would have been close to impossible ever to watch again. But thanks to technological innovation, missing a television or radio programme is no longer a problem as one can simply access it online at one’s convenience.

It is also important to mention that new technologies and innovation pose other challenges which also need discussion and careful consideration in today’s business environment. Together with former British Prime Minister Tharesa May and others, I sit on the World Economic Forum’s Global Council for Artificial Intelligence, a global body that is chaired by Kai Fu Lee, an artificial intelligence expert and the author of the book titled “AI superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the Global order”.

This council discusses policies that should govern the responsible global usage of new technologies such as those propelled by artificial intelligence. One of the projects we are currently working on is the assessment of industries that will be the most affected by automation that will be brought about by the introduction of artificial intelligence.

Locally, Standard Bank and Multichoice recently announced that a huge contingent of their work force will be laid off because their areas of work will now be performed by automated technologies. MacDonald’s outlets are currently piloting self-service portals which, in the medium term, means that many of MacDonald’s current workers are going to lose their jobs.

Front desk jobs in the tourism industry are also being automated. I make these observations to underscore the point that the changing nature of the production of goods and delivery of services is something that cannot but form part of your discussions over the next two days.

One is also cognisant that securing finance for SMMEs remains a huge challenge, especially working capital. As a result, the delay in payment for services rendered especially by government renders is a threat to the very survival of small businesses.

It is therefore important that, as government, we provide you with support and we also prioritise the issue timely payment. It is for this reason, among others, that the Department of Tourism introduced the Market Access Support Programme which aims to reduce the cost burden of participating in selected international trade platforms for small tourism enterprises by improving access to buyers in new and growth markets; thereby unlocking demand growth and allowing market penetration.

As part of its efforts to support sector transformation, the Department has partnered with the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) to establish the Tourism Transformation Fund, a dedicated capital investment funding mechanism to encourage capital investment by majority black-owned investors.

The Fund aims to stimulate accelerated sector transformation and more inclusive growth. It is expected to give rise to a new generation of black-owned youth, women and community-based tourism enterprises that will take the tourism sector to new heights. The Tourism Transformation Fund offers a combination of debt finance and grant funding for new and expanding tourism development projects with majority black shareholding.

In addition to this fund, we also have the Hidden Gems programme. This is partnership between the Department and SA Tourism to allow SMMEs to exhibit at local trade shows, Meetings Africa, WTM Africa and Africa’s Travel Show (INDABA). It comprises the following:
  • Hidden Gems Zone pavilion - which is a dedicated pavilion with individual exhibition space for fifteen (15) enterprises at Meetings Africa 2019 and one hundred and thirty-five (135) enterprises at Travel Indaba 2019. Exhibitors are grouped according to provinces and the experiences that they offer.
  • Hosted local buyer programme - this includes 150 carefully selected local buyers for the purpose of channelling business to smaller enterprises on the Hidden Gems Zone pavilion and on provincial stands. The contracts with local hosted buyers require them to have at least 10 mandatory meetings for the duration of the show with small and emerging exhibitors and to participate actively in key networking functions.
  • Dedicated networking event – this event is hosted for enterprises and local buyers to create an opportunity for selected enterprises to sell their products to the local buyers at the event.
  • Extensive media exposure- by leveraging our relationship with more than 700 media members at the Indaba we provide media coverage for small and emerging tourism enterprises. In addition, a booklet with SMME’s profile is also distributed to all media and to local and international buyers at the Indaba.
As government, we are operating within a constrained fiscal environment and we are mindful that these initiatives do not go far in getting us where we want to be. In this regard, we challenge the private sector to come on board and partner with us so that we can get more and more young entrepreneurs actively and sustainably to participate in the mainstream economy.

I believe that our country is endowed with so much talent and by working together we can grow the economy.

Who is Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane?
Mmamoloko Tryphosa "Nkhensani" Kubayi-Ngubane (born 8 May 1978) is the Minister of Tourism and a Member of the National Assembly for the African National Congress (ANC). She previously served as Minister of Science and Technology from 2018 to 2019, Minister of Communications from 2017 to 2018 and Minister of Energy in 2017.

Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane was born and raised in Soweto. She and her family lived in a shack. Her mother was a domestic worker and a strong ANC supporter. Kubayi-Ngubane fell pregnant at the age of 17 and gave birth to a son. Despite challenges, she matriculated from Thusa-Setjhaba Secondary School in 1997 as the school's top achiever and subsequently became involved in student politics. She attended the Vista University's Soweto campus and obtained a BA Degree in Psychology and Sociology in 2000. She achieved a Project Management Diploma from Damelin in 2002.

Kubayi-Ngubane was first employed as a Community Developer in the non-governmental sector. She was soon employed at First National Bank as a Skills Development Specialist, and, later on, found employment in the Business Banking Division at Nedbank. She soon worked in the public sector as a Skills Development Facilitator at the National Health Laboratory Services.

In 2015, she achieved a master's degree in Public Administration from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Kubayi-Ngubane, while still in Vista University, joined the ANC Youth League and was elected to the university's SRC. After working at the National Health Laboratory Services, she briefly became a director in the Office of the then-Deputy President of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In 2006, she was elected an ANC PR Councillor of the City of Johannesburg and became the Chairperson of the municipality's Portfolio Committee on Transport. At that exact time, she also served as a Provincial Executive Council (PEC) member of the ANC Youth League in Gauteng and soon became the Deputy Provincial Secretary of the ANCYL.

Kubayi-Ngubane was elected a Member of Parliament in 2009. She then worked as the Parliamentary Counsellor to the newly-appointed Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe.[3]

In her capacity as an MP, she has served as a Whip of the Parliamentary Committees on Basic and Higher Education and Training, Private Members’ Legislative Proposals and Petitions. She was also acting Deputy Chief Whip of the ANC Caucus and a member of the Standing Committee on Appropriations, the Rules Committee and the Programming Committee. Most recently, she served as Chairperson of both the Telecommunications and Postal Services Portfolio Committees.

In March 2017, President Jacob Zuma appointed her as the new Minister of Energy. She succeeded Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Her appointment was seen as an advancement for the implementation of the controversial nuclear deal.

She briefly served until October 2017 when she was named Minister of Communications. In February 2018, newly-appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa announced her as Minister of Science and Technology.

Following the May 2019 elections, Kubayi-Ngubane was named the new Minister of Tourism, succeeding Derek Hanekom.

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