Tourism Department blows R13 million in incorrect payments for tourist guides
In response to DA parliamentary questions, the Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, revealed that the Department of Tourism incorrectly paid out more than R13 million via its Tourism Relief Fund and the Relief Fund for Tourist Guides.
There appears to have been major deficiencies and a lack of controls in the issuing of funds to beneficiaries of both funds during the hard lockdown period. Payments were made from these funds without proper checks to ensure that funds were paid to only qualifying beneficiaries.
Further parliamentary replies indicate that one Tourism Relief Fund beneficiary and 26 Relief Fund for Tourist Guides beneficiaries were paid twice.
Of the Relief Fund for Tourist Guides, 17 deceased beneficiaries were paid R4 500 each. In addition, the following incorrect payments were made from the same fund, namely:
• 273 payments were made to social grant beneficiaries
• 1350 payments were made to Unemployment Insurance Fund beneficiaries
• 58 payments were made to persons in the employ of the State
• 1172 payments were made to persons with invalid or incorrect identity numbers
It is shocking that the Tourism Department was not able to confirm a simple identity number or whether a person was alive or not during the application and payment process. Considering that there are hundreds of tour guides that suffered and continue to suffer incredible economic hardships, it is unacceptable that this was allowed to happen by the department.
This is yet another example of millions of rands lost thanks to ill-qualified ANC-cadre deployees who administer taxpayers’ money.
Minister Sisulu’s replies indicate that her department will investigate this matter and conclude the investigation by April this year. The DA will be carefully monitoring this matter to firstly ensure that the money is returned and secondly that the guilty parties are bought to book.
Manny de Freitas MP
DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
082 788 6824