South Africa Tourism refuses to cancel Tottenham deal

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

I have been advised by a whistleblower that the chairperson of South African Tourism (SAT) Board, Dr Thozamile Botha has written to the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille complaining that de Lille cancelled the proposed Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal. This is despite a public outcry against this deal, the fact that the multi-party Tourism Portfolio Committee unanimously opposed this deal and the plethora of questions which remain unanswered.

In the letter to de Lille, Botha insisted that the SAT Board had approved this deal at its meeting at the end of January. Botha dug in his heels by claiming that the Minister had “pre-empted the response to the required approval” by Treasury. Putting the arrogant stance displayed by Botha aside, it is clear that Botha and the rest of the SAT Board continue to be tone-deaf on this matter.

R1 billion can simply not be justified when this money should rather be spent on fixing the many dilapidated and unmaintained tourism sites which, once fixed, would attract tourists who are most interested in visiting various tourism sites. This in turn would contribute to job creation at these sites as well as contribute to growing the economy.

Ironically, Thozamile Botha complained about the Minister’s lack of “consultative processes” on this matter when all along the SAT Board themselves undertook no consultation at all on this matter. It is my understanding that since the appointment of Patricia de Lille as Tourism Minister, to date the SAT Board has not communicated with the Minister or even requested to meet with her. Botha bemoaned the fact that de Lille went public on her decision to cancel this deal. It appears that this is another display of arrogance considering that the SAT falls under the ambit of the National Department of Tourism, which is the sole shareholder.

This is yet another reason why a Parliamentary Inquiry is required into this matter, particularly when one sees the blatant insistence by the SAT Board that this deal should go ahead. Why the insistence on this matter by Botha and his Board in the face of the rest of South Africa which is united in the opposition this this deal? These and other questions must be answered.