South Africa ‘must re-double trade and tourism efforts’

IATA study highlights aviation’s impact on jobs and economy

 

IATA Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa Muhammad Ali Albakri says efforts must be “re-doubled” to promote South Africa as a destination open to trade and tourism.

Albakri’s comments come following an IATA study that highlighted the immense value of the air transport industry in South Africa.

Aviation supports some 490,000 jobs in the country, including tourism-related employment.

Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth

The sector also contributes $US12 billion to South Africa’s GDP—the equivalent of 3.5% of total GDP.

“The study confirms the vital role of air transport in facilitating over US$110 billion in exports, some US$140 billion in foreign direct investment and around US$9.2 billion in inbound leisure and business tourism for South Africa,” Alkbari said.

“Now with the country in recession it’s time to re-double efforts to promote South Africa as a destination for business, trade and tourism.”

Executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum rated South Africa’s status regarding three key areas for the air transport industry.

Thirty-seven African countries in all were rated, out of these South Africa ranked:

• 1st for infrastructure

• 19th for visa openness

• 17th for cost competitiveness

Alkbari has urged the South African government to recognize the benefits of aviation, and remove barriers affecting air connectivity and trade.

We urge the South African government to remove any impediments

“Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth,” he added.

“It promotes skills development and is a catalyst for jobs. We urge the South African government to remove any impediments, including unnecessary red-tape and policies that hinder air connectivity and the trade, investment, tourism and job opportunities it facilitates and stimulates.”

Member Notice – SAPOA – Massmart Complaint – Progress Report 

EXCLUSIVITY CLAUSES – COMPLAINT BY MASSMART

 
On 11 June 2015, Massmart referred its complaint against Shoprite, Pick ‘n Pay and Spar to the Competition Tribunal following the Commission’s decision to ‘non-refer’ the matter due to the Grocery Retail Sector Market Inquiry. 
 
SAPOA has been cited as fourth respondent in the proceedings. Massmart states that SAPOA is cited in the complaint merely for the ‘interest’ that it and its members have in the matter. Importantly, no relief is sought against SAPOA or any of its members.
 
However, if Massmart is successful in its complaint, SAPOA’s members may well be affected in respect of new lease agreements which are to be negotiated or concluded and existing lease agreements which contain exclusivity provisions.
  
Interlocutory procedural applications
  
Exception Applications – Shoprite, Spar and Pick ‘n Pay
 
During August 2015, Shoprite, Spar and Pick ‘n Pay each filed a pleading known as an ‘exception’ to the Massmart complaint.  The exceptions set out argument as to why the substance of the complaint referral to the Tribunal by Massmart does not meet the strict procedural and content requirements to allow the respondents to deal with the complaint.
 
In summary, Shoprite, Spar and Pick ‘n Pay have asked that the Tribunal throw out the complaint, alternatively to direct that the points raised of defective pleading must be remedied by Massmart before the matter proceeds further.
 
In a combined answer to all three exceptions, filed on 16 September 2015, Massmart contends that the exceptions are in respect of matters of particularity and detail, and it is not required or appropriate to decide these issues at this stage of the proceedings.
 
The Tribunal will ultimately decide whether the complaint referral meets the requirements of particularity and detail required by the Competition Act, and/or stipulate what further is required in order for the respondents to answer the case before them. 
 
 Stay Application – Spar
 
On 21 December 2015, Spar filed an application to stay proceedings. The relief sought by Spar is to stay (suspend) the Massmart complaint proceedings pending finalisation of the Grocery Retail Sector Market Inquiry.
 
Spar argues that allowing the Massmart complaint to proceed will result in parallel investigations into the same substantial issues by the Competition Tribunal and the Commission’s assigned Market Inquiry team. This, Spar suggests, is not in the interests of the principle of institutional comity between the Tribunal and the Commission – this principle can be described as a restraint exercised by one institution out of respect for the role of another.
 
Spar also suggests that there is no indication that the Massmart complaint will be finally resolved before the Market Inquiry is due to be completed – by May 2017.
 
Although the Tribunal has not previously been asked to stay proceedings pending conclusion of a market inquiry, it has accepted that it has the power to stay complaint referrals before it. The Tribunal has and will exercise a general discretion in deciding whether or not to grant this application.
 
If the complaint is stayed pending the Market Inquiry, Massmart’s rights to proceed will simply be postponed pending the outcome of the Market Inquiry in the same way as SAPOA has agreed to suspend its rights in terms of the SAPOA complaint.  
 
SAPOA’s role in proceedings 
 
For now, SAPOA has elected to simply take a passive role in the proceedings. It may later choose to make a submission to assist the Tribunal and it may be called upon by the parties to provide information and possibly give evidence on these issues.
 
Fasken Martineau’s brief is to monitor proceedings and communicate developments which may have an impact upon SAPOA and its members.
 
The hearings are set down for the 26th and the 27th July 2016.

South Africa: Persisting tough trading conditions affecting tourism 

Jul 20, 2016
PRETORIA, South Africa – The Tourism Business Council of South Africa reports that the persisting tough trading conditions in the South African economy are affecting businesses in the sector and have led to below normal levels of business performance as recorded in the 2016 Quarter 2 Tourism Business Index. However, the Travel and Tourism industry being the resilient sector that it is, both locally and internationally, role players have expressed hope of improved performance going forward.

These are the sentiments highlighted in the latest results of the Tourism Business Index (TBI), published today by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA). The report shows that businesses in the travel and tourism sector were trading under tough conditions in Q2, recording an index score of 78.9, significantly below the score of 100 points, which indicates normal business performance levels. The score is also 7.3 index points below than the 86.2 forecasted for the second quarter of 2016.

Commenting on the outcomes of the report, TBCSA CEO, Ms. Mmatšatši Ramawela, says that the Q2 results is a clear indication that the trading environment is tougher out there hence the results that are even lower than what we were expecting in the sector following on from the impressive results of Q1. It just shows that our recovery as a sector is going to be an even bumpier ride, considering all the added pressure inherent in the broader economy, which will no doubt affect our sector. We still have the after effect of Brexit to contend with, considering that both the EU and the UK are amongst our primary source market for both our business and leisure travellers,” says Ramawela.

Comparing the TBI with other economic indices in South Africa, it is apparent that there is a general trend of low confidence across South Africa’s economic landscape. The Q2 2016 results of the RMB/BER Business Confidence Index fell to a score of 32, which is below the normal confidence levels (a score of 50 indicating normal). On a slightly positive note, the SACCI Business Confidence Index (BCI) showed a slight increase in the quarterly average (from 93.1 to 94.1) in Q2 2016, although the overall trend is still downward from 2015. This being the case, it is going to be critical for role players in the tourism sector to “tighten” their belts and work harder to make South Africa a compelling proposition all around.

Source: eTN Global Travel Industry News 

Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill: Public Hearing Inputs

I am not quite certain whether the formal hearings have been concluded or not, however the following is a summary of the the foregoing hearings in Parliament on the SPLUMB. Once again, these are reproduced with compliments from the PMG.

The Committee’s Content Adviser and Researcher presented a summary of the comments and submissions made at the public hearing on the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill (B14-2012) (SPLUMB). The comments were divided into general and specific comments. The issues raised in relation to the general comments were in respect of consultation; public participation/consultation; framework legislation; cost of planning; constitutionality of the Bill; land tenure and land use communal areas; alignment with other laws and custodian of the Bill. The issues raised in relation to the specific comments were in respect of intergovernmental support; intervention in functional areas of municipal competence; spatial development frameworks; mining; land use schemes; municipal planning tribunals; time-frames for applications; engineering services/development charges; appeals; exemptions; regulations; transitional arrangements and repeals.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) presented its responses to the issues it had identified from the submissions made at the public hearing. These issues centred on decision making bodies; repeal of laws; transitional provisions; interface with provincial legislation and legal status of Spatial Development Frameworks (SDFs).

Members asked if the Parliamentary Legal Adviser could advise the Committee on the proposals which had been made in respect of the Bill; if the Committee ought to be dealing with the Bill alone or if the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) should also participate in the deliberations on the Bill.

Snap Survey – Spatial Planning And Land Use Management Draft Bill of 2011

The Constitutional Court will make a final ruling on the Development Facilitation Act in June 2012, which could result in this Act being repealed. This could mean that Development Tribunals would no longer be able to make decisions on land development applications. In the absence of the DFA, the Spatial Planning And Land Use Management Act would have to have been put in place. Should the new Act not be in place by then, development applications would then have to be made in terms of the legacy Townships Ordinances.