Michele du Plessis
At an engagement with the national Minister of Tourism, Ms. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, in Hazyview on 6th August 2019, Kruger Lowveld Ehlanzeni Tourism took the opportunity to present a Petition to the Minister outlining, among other matters, the organisation’s suggestions for improving communications and co-operation between government and private sector in Mpumalanga.
The document covers a broad spectrum of issues including the management, maintenance and marketing of provincial tourism assets as well as tourism safety, roadside corruption, service delivery protests and several infrastructural and environmental crises.
The following excerpts are from the Kruger Lowveld Ehlanzeni Tourism Petition to the National Minister of Tourism, Ms. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane:
There is no doubt that Mpumalanga tourism carries the potential to create opportunities for new entrepreneurs, especially from the disadvantaged communities, and to breed a unique informal sector. Notwithstanding all the advantages, Mpumalanga has not been able to realise its full potential in tourism and is a graveyard of failed tourism products, pointless vanity and white-elephant projects and poorly-maintained attractions.
The private sector ascribes the current challenges to a lack of leadership in the province, which has worsened since the dawn of democracy. The Mpumalanga Province has appointed people in key strategic positions who either have no experience or are not involved with tourism. The current government tourism structures and initiatives are shambolic, ad-hoc, under-capacitated, under-resourced and incompetent. The fact is that Mpumalanga does not prioritise tourism and that is evident from its lack of budget allocations.
We don’t want to create an impression that government has not been doing things in the sector but what they have done has had very little impact and millions of rands continue to be spent on consultants to develop useless documents and studies that collect dust and mean nothing to the industry and the communities.
We request the Minister to engage the Minister of Mines and Energy to see to a more professional approach where applications are studied before approval, to avoid all the confrontations and wastage of time and money. Right now, the tourism industry faces a high threat from many applications in prime tourism areas, which will also affect the water catchment areas of a large portion of the district.”
Kruger Lowveld Ehlanzeni Tourism is confident that the event and it’s very positive interactions and valuable insights from the Minister will lead to positive relationships between public and private sectors in Mpumalanga and also to greater support at a national level for national initiatives in all matters affecting the tourism sector.