SAT Board members spend over R2.5 million on themselves

Issued by Manny de Freitas MP – DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
13 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

In response to official parliamentary questions by the DA, Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille admitted that since 2020, the South African Tourism (SAT) Board has spent an astronomical R2 509 653.64 on remuneration fees, travel, and accommodation. This amount is not proportional to the growth of tourism over the same period.

It is clear that the board is milking the system, as one of the responses revealed that the SAT Board spent R769 548.47 on travel and accommodation for board members, since 2020, despite only having 10 of the 57 meetings in person. This averages just under R77 000.00 per meeting on travel and accommodation alone. Board member remuneration fees over the same period totalled a sky-high amount of R1 625 963.00 of taxpayer money.

The over R2.5 million must be justified and indicate how these expensive meetings are benefiting the tourism sector and tourists directly.

Official Tourism statistics released last month confirm that the tourism employment share has decreased from 4.8% in 2019 to 3.1% in 2020. The direct contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased from R208 316 million (3.7%) in 2019 to R123 616 million (2.2%) in 2020, a decrease of 40.7%.

Although post-covid statistics are improving from that during covid, tourism figures still have a long way to go from where it should be. This makes the reckless spending by members of the SAT Board even more disturbing.

I will be submitting additional questions to the Minister and will be asking more in-depth questions pertaining to the meetings held by the SAT Board.