In 2005 the department commissioned a feasibility study into the Events and Technical Services (E&TS) sector. This included a research conducted by independent researchers and a subsequent consultation process conducted by a Team (E&TSTT) which was established to engage with sector stakeholders to further interrogate the findings of the research through a series of Indaba held in all 9 Provinces attended by 770 active industry players and culminating into a 2nd National Events Indaba in 2006.
Out of this process smaller focus groups and independent consultants were engaged to consolidate the findings of the feasibility study culminating with a comprehensive report in 2009.
The process has revealed a number of dynamics of the E&TS including amongst others, the sectors’ significant contribution to the GDP of the South African economy and its potential to economic development and job creation. It has also been found that South Africa is increasingly becoming a preferred location for the hosting of high profile and large scale international outdoor and indoor events. The same view is observed for domestic events, where a majority is government driven.
Overview of the sector
The industry is a very broad sector with a diverse group of stakeholders who are loosely organised through associations and forums clustered as follows:
Technical Services: The technical support rendered for the enhancement of an event through the provision of Audio visual equipment, Barriers, Broadcasting, Communications, Crowd Management, Editing, Electrical, Emergency, Health, Installations, Lighting, Media, Medical Care, Noise, Production, Rigging, Safety, Security, Sound, Special Effects, Special Needs, Staging, Structures, Traffic, Transport, Trussing, TV, Vibrant, Visuals. “All aspects for the enhancement of an Event” (Sourced: SANS 10366 2006)
According to the International Conference and Congress Association (ICCA) statistics, South Africa is ranked 21st in the world in terms of meetings held with 45 international meetings. Using international revenue standing of the MICE industry, one can estimate that South Africa is worth more than 19 billion rand. A Grant Thornton survey commissioned by TPSA in 2003 estimated that the annual turnover of TPSA members was estimated at 1, 8 billion rand. This figure is only related to TPSA members. Further surveys based on interviews during 2004 revealed a turnover of 4, 5 billion. Another Grant Thornton Conference study concluded that the MICE industry in South Africa contributes about 20 billion to the GDP and paying approximately 6 billion in salaries per annum. Currently, the industry has about 12, 500 individual suppliers and approximately 5, 000 private and public buyers. Only about 20% of industry players belong and are active members of TPSA. These figures are extrapolated from a small sample bite, and thus represent an estimation of the nature and characteristics of the industry.
The competitive nature of this industry is dependent on speed, time, cost, technology, skills and quality of performance and services. These elements are critical influencers of the total value chain. At this moment, the greatest success of the industry is the nature of formation of its members in terms of size and relationships. These turn to be small, easy to manage, informal and family oriented.
In addition Government has a great opportunity to get involved through hosting exhibitions that invite students from the different training institutions to exhibit their craft; this form of activity is interlinked with the pillars of MICE, a great buyer within the industry. This automatically creates partnerships between government, private training institutions and the potential technicians of the future; it also provides a perfect platform for information dissemination from all stakeholders involved in the industry, closing information gaps that have been created by the nature of a very closed and protected industry. These opportunities must be implemented if the events and technical services industry is to grow and continue to transform at a faster rate, these opportunities must also be implemented in order to empower new entrants in the industry, assisting them to run effective and professional enterprises.
Developing sector strategy
Subsequent to the report from the Task Team, the department has produced a discussion document with which to develop a sector strategy. The department is busy at the moment organising to engage with the sector and all strategic partners towards formulating a strategy that will provide an outline for the practical implementation of the recommendations from the Task Team report.
Providing strategic support to sector initiatives
Meanwhile the above interventions, the department has been providing support to numerous independent initiatives. One of the initiatives that has been provided with support is the South African Roadies Association (SARA), which has enabled it to participate at key international events such as the PLASA, ROSKILDE FESTIVAL, etc. Other support has been provided to independent events and initiatives such as the Soweto Arts Festival, Mdantsane Arts Festival, Pulo Ya Meropa Festival.
Mr C Hlatshwayo