When South Africa implemented lockdown restrictions, one of the sectors that was most affected by this was tourism, with businesses remaining shut even when economic activity resumed.
When Deputy President David Mabuza appeared before the National Assembly to respond to oral questions on Wednesday, he said a plan aimed at reigniting growth in the sector would soon be presented to Cabinet for approval.
“As mentioned earlier, the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the tourism sector.
“As a response, the Department of Tourism, in partnership with the private sector, has developed a Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, which will soon be presented to Cabinet for approval,” he said.
The Deputy President said the plan outlines a set of interventions to ignite the recovery anchored on three strategic themes, namely protecting and rejuvenating supply, reigniting demand and strengthening capacity for long-term sustainability.
“We are confident that with this intervention, the sector and its entire value chain will be resuscitated.
“We admit that under the current environment of fiscal constraint, the reduced budget tabled by the Minister of Finance can never be sufficient to address all the socio-economic challenges facing our country and further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, we do believe that the interventions will go a long way towards mitigating the negative socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of South Africans,” said Mabuza.
Poultry Master Plan creates new jobs
The Deputy President said South Africa is one of the countries most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
By the end of November 2020, the country accounted for the highest number of confirmed cases per capita – with approximately 800 000 cumulative cases, representing over a third (36%) of the total cases on the continent.
Mabuza said official Labour Force Data shows that there were approximately 2.2 million fewer people employed in the second quarter of 2020 relative to the first – essentially erasing the last 10 years of job growth in the economy.
“Only a partial recovery can be observed in data from the third quarter of the year, with employment still down by 1.7 million, relative to pre-pandemic levels.”
The Deputy President said against this background, government implemented several anti-poverty initiatives in the form of the social relief package that gave poor households, the working class as well as businesses in distress support.
When economic activity resumed, government also implemented several sector-based master plans to reignite economic activity.
“The implementation of the Poultry Master Plan is already bearing fruit in driving economic growth and job creation, where 428 jobs have been created from over R735 million of new investment.
“Similarly, in the sugar industry, about R1 billion has been set aside over five years towards industry transformation, in order to remedy inequalities experienced by black sugarcane growers,” the Deputy President said.