Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA)
AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY BY THE FEDERATED HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA ("FEDHASA")
ON THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL AS PROPOSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
I must make it clear from the outset that FEDHASA is neither arguing nor challenging the health aspects of the Bill and, that we fully support Minister Zuma in terms of the need for specific broad based health regulations in order to protect the rights, interests and well being of the children and the non smokers of South Africa.
Notwithstanding the proposed broad based health regulations and irrespective of any organisations stand point on this issue, the fact remains that smokers are an integral and significant part of the South African economy, more especially in terms of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry and cannot simply be ignored.
FEDHASA believes that the proposed Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act should not contain prescriptive and or restrictive measures that have or may have the effect of undermining business confidence, reducing the potential for international & local investment and ultimately reducing both urban and rural employment opportunities, more especially in the informal and SSME sectors. This, within one of the few remaining growth industries, capable of significantly affecting the unacceptably high levels of unemployment in South Africa.
It must also be noted that although the impact of a single individual piece of legislation may vary and may not in itself appear to directly or significantly affect Tourism investment and employment opportunities, there can be little doubt that the combined affect is chipping away at business confidence, reducing the potential for local and international investment and ultimately reducing both urban and rural employment opportunities.
World wide, as in South Africa, the Hospitality and Tourism industry is recognized as a growth industry and as a result, is in a position to significantly affect employment levels and the creation of new jobs. It is no coincidence that the job summit to be held on the 30th October this year has a stated commitment to "a singular focus on Tourism".
It must also be borne in mind that the Hospitality Industry and more specifically the Accommodation, Catering, Restaurant and Tavern sector, is at present under developed in many of the poorer urban and rural locations and has opened up significant, low investment, labor intensive, business opportunities to new entrants all across South Africa. We respectfully ask that the Department not place any additional hurdles in the path of what is clearly an expanding and significant opportunity for the growth of SMME's.
It is clear, from the amended Bill, that the definition of a "Public Place " will include, amongst others, Hotels, B & Bs, Guest Houses, Game Lodges, Restaurants, Clubs, Taverns, Shabeens, Cigar Bars, Conference Centres, Gaming & Gambling establishments and Pubs and that an outright ban on smoking is envisaged.
FEDHASA's immediate concern is that the implementation of a total smoking ban in "public places" as defined, would have a significant and negative economic impact on the Industry. More specifically as it would effect those Hospitality establishments falling within the SMME category, who in total, represent some 70% of the Association membership.
FEDHASA believes that the following proposal, will address those investors, owners and consumer concerns currently being voiced through the media on what they believe to be their constitutional right to make decisions based on personal or economic preference and with the full knowledge of the potential affects and or consequence of that decision.
FEDHASA believes that both market and economic forces should be allowed to dictate the strategy of each and every business, within a broad legislative framework, with due consideration being given to the protection of children, non smokers and the needs of smokers.
FEDHASA requests the Minister, the Portfolio Committee and the Department of Health to exclude Hotels, B & Bs, Guest House, Game Lodges, Restaurants, Clubs, Taverns, Shabeens, Cigar Bars, Conference Centres, Gaming & Gambling establishments and Pubs from the definition of a" Public Place" under section 6 - "Regulations", and to establish provisions that will allow the Tourist and Hospitality Industry, the option of implementing any one of the following,
Of becoming exclusively a "non smoking" establishment and by compliance with reasonable and practical regulatory provisions, ensure sufficient notification and warning to smokers through all ongoing media advertising and on site strategic signage which signage should comply with provisions as laid down in the regulations.
Of becoming exclusively a "smoking" establishment and by compliance with reasonable and practical regulatory provisions, ensure sufficient notification and warning to non smokers through ongoing media advertising and on site strategic signage, which signage should comply with provisions as laid down in the regulations.
Of accommodating both smokers and non smokers by conforming to specific
criteria as may be provided for in the regulations that ensure regulated, effective, practical and acceptable segregation and the protection of the rights of non smokers
FEDHASA believes that such an option, allowing a business to make an informed economic decision based on customer profiling, will not have a significantly detrimental effect on the industry, will not result in economic hardship, will allow for strategic owner I management decision making, will not force small business to comply with any regulation that may require additional capital investment and is therefore, unlikely to affect business opportunities, employment retention and job creation.
FEDHASA respectfully requests that the committee evaluate and consider the financial impact of a total ban on smoking, as we are confident that it was not the Ministers intention to place an additional burden nor restriction on an industry earmarked by the Government and the private sector, as offering significant opportunities to new entrants and SMME's in particular.
FEDHASA believes that broad based regulatory measures should be applied Nationally, so as to ensure continuity, practicality, ease of understanding, ease of implementation and acceptability by owners, operators, tourists and the public of South Africa alike, whilst allowing for a reasonable and enforceable measure of control.
FEDHASA supports not only broad based regulations but measures that are both practical and reasonable and will ensure compliance with the provisions, rather than contravention and civil disobedience, as a result.
Provisions of this nature, will allow the customer I consumer to adhere to his I her democratic and constitutional right to make decisions based on his I her own preferences, with the full knowledge of the potential affects and or consequence of that decision.
FEDHASA trusts that the content of this submission to the Portfolio Committee will not fall of deaf ears and will be given the due consideration it deserves and that future amendments and or regulations will reflect the practical and positive proposals that have been put forward to the committee on behalf of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry and in particular the members of the Federated Hotel Association of South Africa.