Tourism sector remains mainly white owned

Johannesburg – Newly elected chairperson of the portfolio committee on tourism Thandi Mahambehlala on Friday said the committee was concerned about the slow pace of transformation in the sector.

This is after the committee received a briefing on the Council Plan of Action by Tourism Transformation Council of South Africa (TTCSA).

The council was established in June 2019 on a three-year term.

The TTCSA revealed that few companies achieved the 30% black ownership target and less than 50% of enterprises in the three sub-sectors of accommodation, hospitality and travel achieved the minimum ownership targets.

The report showed that Limpopo was the leader in transformation, with 56% of tourism products owned by black people, followed by Mpumalanga at 51% and KwaZulu-Natal at 48%. The Western Cape was the least transformed at 25%, followed by the Free State at 31% and Eastern Cape at 39%.

“The committee heard that currently there is no consequence management for non-compliance with B-BBEE codes and that the pace of transformation is slow in small, medium and micro-enterprises.

“One of the reasons for this is that the accommodation sector is largely a family-owned and run business and therefore there is no incentive for these owners to transform,” she said.

This was not the first time legislators raised concerns about the transformation of the industry, touted as having the potential to create thousands of job opportunities.

In a statement just over a year ago, the committee noted that the pace of transformation in the sector is “too pedestrian” and that tourism development is confined to the Johannesburg-Durban-Cape Town “golden triangle”.

Former minister of tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also drew the scorn of the establishment when she introduced the Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) as an institution that supplied financing only to black-owned tourism businesses during the Covid-19 lockdown.

One of the TEF requirements is that only businesses with at least 51% black ownership qualify for loans or subsidies from the R1.2-billion fund.

AfriForum and Solidarity headed to court to challenge the legality of the fund.

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