De Lille confirms SA Tourism board chair has resigned

Minister of Tourism Patricia de Lille confirmed to Sunday World on Wednesday that Thozamile Botha, the chairperson of SA Tourism board, has resigned.

It is understood that Botha left his positions in a huff over the debacle involving the controversial R1-billion sponsorship deal with UK soccer giants Tottenham Hotspur.

“Mr Thozamile Botha did resign after I had written a letter to the SAT [SA Tourism] board on April 6 requesting the board to provide reasons by April 18 2023 as to why it should not be dissolved,” said De Lille.

“However, Mr Botha chose to resign, but I cannot talk about SAT board matters in the media before I meet with them.”

Sources within tourism allege that other board members are on the verge of resigning because they believe they would be targeted.

“That letter by De Lille sent shivers down the spines of other board members [regarding the R1-billion deal with Spurs],” said a source.

“They are all preparing themselves to leave the office as they contemplate to resign rather than being fired.

“They are trying to save themselves from being embarrassed by De Lille, as she is going to fire all of them.”

Another source said the board was constituted illegally, and De Lille is allegedly getting ready to axe all the board members.

DA spokesperson on tourism Manny de Freitas said he was provided with the information by a whistleblower that indicated that Botha has resigned as a result of the R1-billion Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal.

“Apparently Minister De Lille had written to the SAT board on April 6 requesting the board to provide reasons by April 18 2023 as to why it should not be dissolved,” said De Freitas.

“In written correspondence to Minister De Lille last month, I explained that after three resignations at the beginning of February, [former tourism minister] Lindiwe Sisulu had appointed the replacement board members just four days later.

“The Tourism Act is clear about how SAT board members ought to be appointed. Clause 13 [3] prescribes that the minister must invite nominations and publish this in the government gazette for a minimum 30 days and in two national newspapers.

“The same must be done after board members have been appointed. We hope that this is an indication that Minister De Lille is ‘cleaning up’ the mess that her predecessor created.

“It is a step in the right direction for the tourism sector and subsequently the economy and job creation.”

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