DA wants details of SA Tourism, Tottenham deal made public

The DA wants the details of the proposed R1-billion SA Tourism marketing and sponsorship deal with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur publicised to ensure transparency and to avoid corruption.

The idea is to have the SA brand appearing on the sleeve of Spurs jersey, similarly to an arrangement between African nation Rwanda and Arsenal, another soccer giant in the UK.

The three-year deal, if it sees the light of day, will start from 2024 until 2027.

DA MP Manny de Freitas confirmed on Monday that the opposition party will submit a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application for all the documentation pertaining to the deal.

In a statement, De Freitas said the DA seeks to evaluate if South Africa and tourism will benefit from the proposed deal following a media briefing by the SA Tourism acting CEO, Themba Khumalo, which according to De Freitas generated more confusion than answers.

“In the last few days, three members of the SA Tourism board have resigned directly because of this deal. Additionally, there appears to have been no competitive bidding process, which makes this whole matter irregular.”

De Freitas said President Cyril Ramaphosa, who expressed his disapproval of the deal last week, must reiterate his stance during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Cape Town on Thursday.

“It is vital that this information be obtained as soon as possible, particularly considering that president Ramaphosa’s spokesman has publicly announced that the president does not support this deal.

“However, sources have revealed to the DA that the deal will be included in the Sona. Ramaphosa must thus come out unequivocally against this deal.”

The DA is not impressed with the minister of tourism being mum on the matter, De Freitas said, noting that as the head of the tourism portfolio Lindiwe Sisulu ought to have publicly pronounced the deal before it sparked controversy.

“Our research reveals that some board members of SA Tourism, as well as the South African high commissioner to the UK, had already been at the stadium to assess and verify the feasibility of this proposed venture to be a tier one partner of this football brand. Our PAIA application should clarify these allegations.

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

“I will not let this matter be swept under the carpet. All information pertaining to this matter must be made public so that there is clarity on this matter.”

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