De Lille under fire for SA Tourism board appointments

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Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille has once again come under attack over the appointment of a three-person interim board for South African Tourism.

The ANC and other opposition parties are unhappy with the board, especially Chairperson Tim Harris who they say is too close to the minister.

During the debate of the department’s budget vote, Portfolio Committee chairperson Tandi Mahambehlala raised unhappiness at what she said were irregularities in the way the board was working.

This she said included the withdrawal of delegation of authority from the management of the entity.

Mahambehlala says the money allocated to SA Tourism should not be released until the delegation of authority is restored.

“The three member board, which consists of friends of the minister, two of which are from Wesgro and KZN province. Since their appointment they have seen it pertinent to dispel the executives of the delegation of authority. This entity receives 53.3 percent which amount to R1.47 billion, the funds appropriated to the Department of Tourism.”

Meanwhile, Minister de Lille has expressed her full confidence in the interim board of SA Tourism after she came under attack in Parliament by some members of the portfolio committee.

De Lille says that in the time they have been in office, the board has done a lot of work.

During the reply to the debate on her department’s budget vote, she called on the committee to work with her to grow tourism.

“Yes. There are challenges. Many challenges. And we acknowledge them. But together with the private sector and the portfolio committee and the rest of government we can really take tourism to the next level. So stop the bickering and stop the unnecessary diversion of attention let’s focus on the action plan. I am committed to make sure that we take tourism to the next level.”