Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has told Parliament’s Tourism Committee that she had no knowledge of the proposed deal between South African Tourism and UK Football Club Tottenham Hotspur.
She also says the proposed deal could only exist if it was approved by National Treasury.
Sisulu was called to the Portfolio Committee on Tourism to answer questions that MPs had asked the Tourism Board on whether the Minister knew about the proposed deal.
The committee met with the board following public outrage after the information was leaked to the media recently.
SA Tourism’s proposed R1 billion sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur was meant to brand and promote South Africa as a preferred tourism destination.
Minister Sisulu, addressing the chair of the committee, has said she knew nothing about the deal.
“Chairperson, I start off with the first question. Did I know of the deal? No. I did not know of the deal. I knew of the deal when it became an issue and members of the board came to brief me about the deal,” says Sisulu.
She has explained that the deal would need to go through various checkpoints before it could be approved.
“The deal does not exist until several steps are followed. One of those steps is to get the permission of Treasury. And secondly, it’s to get permission of the president. I did not know when the members left for London. In terms of protocol, I knew that request for permission to meet with the board is normal if it’s from outside, because you can’t come into somebody’s country. But what it was about I did not know, I did not know if they got permission from the Chair of the Board, but when they came back, I watched on television when there was a press conference led by the CEO.”
Parliament’s Tourism Committee wants the proposed sponsorship deal between South African Tourism and UK Football Club Tottenham Hotspur to be stopped immediately.
It also resolved that the Acting CFO Johan van der Walt be removed from the position immediately over alleged conflict of interest and irregular appointment.
Tourism Committee Chairperson Thandi Mahambehlala repeated the committee decision to Minister Sisulu towards the end of the briefing.
“One, the deal on Tottenham Hot Spur stops and ends here and now, today. This is what the Portfolio Committee is saying. And two, the Acting CFO must leave now and today, because his presence in Tourism SA presents a conflict of interest on this particular matter of SA Tourism and how he ascended to that position. It was not as a result of a due process being followed like the one of the Acting CEO and other Actors in SA Tourism.”