Non-response to PAIA application on Tottenham deal brings up red flags

Issued by Manny de Freitas MP – DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
09 May 2023 in News

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

In March 2023, on behalf of the DA, I submitted a PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) application to South Africa Tourism (SAT) for all documentation on the then-proposed R1 billion Tottenham Hotspur deal. The objective of the PAIA application was to obtain information that may have justified the original campaign to benefit tourism.

When news about this deal was made public, South Africans were united in their opposition to it, considering the much-needed assistance that local tourism needs.

While local tourism enterprises receive no support to mitigate the ongoing load-shedding and its impact on tourism, the SAT saw it fit to spend this exorbitant amount on a foreign football club with no assurance that tourism in South Africa would benefit.

All information on this matter must be made public,  especially if taxpayers’ money will be wasted on a scheme which appears to show signs of potential corruption. Should a submitted PAIA application not be responded to within 30 days, the PAIA applicant submits an appeal to the Information Regulator.

To date this information had not been received, neither from SAT nor via the Information Regulator.

Questions arise such as is information being “swept under the carpet” or is “inconvenient” information being hidden from the public and if so, why?

This information is even more pertinent considering the fact that I heard today that the acting CEO of SAT, Mr Themba Khumalo officially resigned from SAT. Why the sudden resignation? More red flags are coming up.

The DA will not let this matter be stonewalled and will follow all necessary procedures to ensure the public gets answers. All information on this matter must be made public so that there is clarity on this issue, and if indeed taxpayer’s money has already been wasted on a scheme which appears to indicate signs of potential corruption.

Should no response be received from the appeal process, we will consider all options to ensure that this information is made public.