Letter to Minister Hanekom

Department of Tourism

17 Trevenna Street, Tourism House,

Sunnyside

Pretoria 0001

[email protected]​ , [email protected]

 

15 June 2016

 

Dear Honourable Minister Hanekom

We refer to the meeting of the Black Business Council (BBC) dated the 31st of May 2016, held at Illovo (Jhb) where we, members of the Institute of Professional Tourist Guides of Southern Africa, had the privilege to be part of the proceedings.

More specifically we treasure the opportunity you have given the audience by your statement that you are “our uncle in the Tourism Business”.  Hence the reason for taking the liberty of using your open door policy in addressing this letter to your person.

The vision of the Institute of Professional Tourist Guides of Southern Africa (IPTGSA) is as follows:

To promote and maintain a platform of recognised professional tourist guides in Southern Africa with our mission to contribute to the development of professional guiding, invest and support members by improving their capacity and abilities.”

We are currently in the process of obtaining official recognition for a professional body as prescribed in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act No. 66/2008 and further described in Decision No. 0491/11 of South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), (Pilot Project).

The requirements set down by SAQA in order to be recognised as a professional body are as follows:

  1. The applicant must be a legally constituted entity.
  2. Protect the public interest in relation to services provided by its members and the associated risks.
  3. Develop, award, monitor and revoke its professional designations in terms of its own rules, legislation and/or international conventions.
  4. Submit a list of members in a form acceptable to SAQA.
  5. Set criteria for, promote and monitor continuing professional development (CPD) for its members to meet the relevant professional designation requirements.
  6. Publish a code of conduct and operate a mechanism for investigating members who are alleged to have contravened the code.

We are pleased to inform that IPTGSA has complied with all the abovementioned SAQA requirements.  Our application is at this stage awaiting submission to be published for comments in the Government Gazette.

IPTGSA has been informed by SAQA that it is their common practise to consult with any regulatory departments of Government prior to application being gazetted.  In this instance it is the National Department of Tourism.

SAQA requested us in an official feedback letter to obtain a written letter of support from the NDT.  IPTGSA, on the 19th June 2015 formally requested the following from the National Registrar of Tourist Guides, Mr V. Tharage:

The IPTGSA would like to request the NDT for a letter stating the NTD does not oppose the IPTGSA in submitting an application to SAQA, to becoming the tourist guiding professional body”.

The IPTGSA however, unfortunately, did not receive the curtesy of a formal reply from the Registrar’s office.  We only received an email from Uveshnee Pillay, Director of Tourist Guiding, stating the following:

As you are already aware, the National Registrar is the authority responsible for regulating and overseeing the developments of the tourist guiding sector.  To maintain impartiality of this process the National Registrar is not in a position to endorse or recommend any organisation for SAQA’s consideration and we are therefore not in a position to assist with your request”.

Going forward, the above reply (also not received on a formal letterhead from the Registrar), is now delaying SAQA from proceeding with IPTGSA’s application for professional body status.

Tourist Guides have been trying for the last 14 years to establish unity in the guiding fraternity, to enable tourist guides to speak with a unified voice, first via the Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), and thereafter the NDT.

This process started as follows:

 

Pre 2005

The tourist guide associations operated independently from each other across the country.

Jan 2005

A national workshop was held in Soweto where the National Tourist Guides Association of South Africa was established.  The association was structured in a 3-tiered fashion, namely National, Provincial and Local

Due to the lack of funding and support, the establishment of the NTGA did not prove to be successful.  As a result, the Registrar did not use this structure for communication and developmental support.

2007

It was then thought that establishing a Federation of South African Tourist Guide Associations (FSATGA) would be the answer, in that all associations, no matter the size and location, could be affiliated to the Federation, thereby having ‘one voice for all guides’.

Government indicated at the time, that the FSATGA needed to become a Non Profit Company (NPC) before any financial benefits could be directed to the Federation.

2008

During this time SAQA published the Policy and Criteria for recognising a professional body designation. (National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act 67 of 2008)

2009

DEAT commissioned Proserv to evaluate professionalisation of the tourist guiding sector.  A report back from this commission was held at Monte Casino on 25th August 2009

Jan 2010

A Constitution for the FSATGA was ratified.

2011

The Non-Profit Company (NPC)was registered for FSATGA

March 2011

SAQA was authorised to start the pilot project for professional bodies

June 2012

During the 2nd AGM of FSATGA, the members decided that, due to no progress regarding professionalisation from DEAT, the road to be followed in order to become a professional body, would be via SAQA.

2012-2014

During this time several passionate tourist guides worked long hours to research, investigate and draft documentation for what was to become IPTGSA.

20 June 2014

A successful inaugural meeting was held in Benoni, where Board Members and an EXCO was elected to drive the process of professionalisation by means of IPTGSA.

2014 - 2015

During this time the process in complying to all SAQA requirements was executed.

18 Feb 2015

The application was submitted to the offices of SAQA

June 2015

SAQA conducted a successful site inspection of the offices of IPTGSA. A feedback letter dated 26th June 2016 was received from SAQA which contained a few outstanding items they required from IPTGSA

Feb 2016

These outstanding requirements were met and the application was resubmitted to SAQA at their offices.

 

We trust that after reading all the aforesaid information, that the honourable Minister will be aware of our frustration and difficulty encountered in bringing this matter to fruition.  As tourist guides, we are ambassadors for South Africa. IPTGSA endeavours to become the vehicle for tourist guides to improve themselves, establish a career path and ascend to be a professional tourist guide. 

In conclusion, the way forward is hampered by SAQA not having a formal reply to the request of a letter of support from NDT as mentioned aforesaid.  We hereby respectfully request the honourable Ministers’ assistance. 

If any further information or a meeting is required, IPTGSA would gladly oblige. 

We thank the honourable Minister for taking the time to hear our request.

 

Yours faithfully

Johan van Biljon

Chairman: IPTGSA

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