Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Tourism has unanimously agreed that the proposed R1 billion sponsorship deal to the English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur, be cancelled with immediate effect. It also wants an investigation into the proposed deal.
VIDEO: SA tourism briefing on proposed Tottenham Hotspurs sponsorship:
SA Tourism was heavily criticised for failing to take into consideration the socio-economic challenges the country is facing. A proposed R1 billion sponsorship deal that would purportedly boost South African tourism has gone south.
Five board members approved the sponsorship deal that would have run over three years at a cost of R330-million per year.
“My role is to propose to a board and a board must yes or no, and I will continue to bring projects for as long as I’m allowed to do so. But the point is the board is the one that says yes or no,” says Themba Khumalo, Acting CEO Tourism SA.
The deal has left MPs fuming.
“And where we see the money is going, we see you want to take it to a wrong place. I’m saying without shame that this is not going to fly,” says Heinrich April, ANC MP.
“This is actually a great presentation to market a soccer team, not for tourism because nowhere does it talk about converting to tourism,” says Mannie de Freitas, DA MP.
The shareholder also says it was unaware about it as it didn’t need her approval.
“It is within the preserve of the board to do its work. It’s part of their responsibilities to go out and seek opportunities to grow the entity and the environment. They don’t need the minister’s permission except when it exceeds a particular financial amount,” says Lindiwe Sisulu Minister of Tourism.
The committee says it was sidelined while taxpayer’s money was going to be used. It also says the South African Football Association (SAFA) should have been brought on board as the country’s soccer mother body.
It wants the deal scrapped.
“This deal ends here today, now, because there’s everything and a lot wrong about the deal itself and we are saying there must be an investigation on this matter with immediate effect,” says Tandi Mahambehlala, Tourism Committee Chairperson.
The committee also bemoaned the instability of the SA Tourism Board.
The board has a period of three months in existence and during this period, it has had three chairpersons.
Tourism SA says no expenses have been incurred on the deal except towards efforts to clinch it.
VIDEO: Brand specialist shares thoughts on Tottenham sponsorship deal