Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says they have learnt that tourism contributed more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) under lockdown than under normal circumstances.
Sisulu was briefing Parliament’s Tourism Committee virtually on her Department and the tourism industry’s response to the Auditor General’s (AG) 2020/2021 audit outcomes.
Sisulu says some tips for tourism can be taken from Kenya to boost South Africa’s GDP.
“Yesterday, we had a meeting with the Minister of Tourism of Kenya and he advised us to look into the GDP and the contribution of tourism to the GDP at the point in which we were under lockdown, (be) cause he says in Kenya, they were surprised that actually, tourism contributed greater percentage to the GDP than under normal circumstances. So we will do that, and if it does it means we will celebrate that hype,” says Sisulu.
Meanwhile, Sisulu says officials who were involved in alleged fraud and corruption will be pursued even if some have left the department.
She says people who also benefitted wrongly from the tourism programmes will have to repay state funds.
The AG had made serious findings into procurement and some of the tourism COVID-19 relief funds.
“I would like to ensure the committee that we will leave no stone unturned when we seek answers where fraud and corruption have happened or where there has been deliberate misuse of state resources. We are setting the ball rolling to ensure that repayment of state funds that had wrongly benefitted from our programme have been paid. Secondly, we will be applying consequence management to officials that are found to have deliberately committed acts of misconduct. Those who have left our institutions will also be followed through if government allows us to follow through.”
SA’s GDP plummets
In December last year, South Africa’s economy contracted by 1.5% in the third quarter of 2021.
According to Stats SA, this was mainly due to tighter COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and the civil unrest in July.
In its statement, Stats SA said six of the ten industries recorded a decline in production in the third quarter.
Agriculture, trade and manufacturing were the hardest hit.
Ziviwe Bubu, Senior Sales Trader at Nedbank, said the GDP numbers came in worse than expected:
-Additional reporting by SABC News