(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Tourism)
The importance of the role that the tourism industry plays in the economy, particularly through job creation, cannot be overemphasised.
Likewise, the damage that the ANC government caused the industry with its thoughtless Covid-19 regulations can also not be overemphasised.
The Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, selected her words very carefully when she described the damage that the regulations caused the industry and how tourism will be helped to get back on its feet.
The Minister, however, failed to mention the Department's irregular expenditure of R20 million, and the widespread corruption that occurred with the allocation of emergency funds in the most critical phase of the lockdown.
Funds were indeed allocated to the sector, but corrupt officials stole the money before it could reach the people who needed it the most.
The Apartheid Museum and the Fugard Theatre had to close their doors. The District Six Museum begged for support, the Johannesburg Art Museum is in a serious predicament, and thousands of employees in the industry are jobless.
And then the government proudly announces that it is going to erect a monumental flag at a staggering cost of R22 million. How is that going to help tourism, or relieve the plight of those who have lost their jobs?
The ANC frequently refers to "its people" who must be helped and empowered. It is clearly only referring to black people.
This approach, which was followed in providing aid to the tourism industry, had direct detrimental consequences for millions of black people who depend on the larger tourism sector for an income.
That fact apparently never crossed the government's mind.
The biggest problems with tourism are the same as in every other sphere where the ANC has some form of influence: Misguided priorities, mismanagement, poor service delivery, incompetence and corruption.
In this way the government demonstrates its utter contempt for its constitutional duty to serve all the people of this country. South Africa and its people deserve better than the ANC.