‘R1bn Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal unjustifiable,’ says Presidency

Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu may be in hot water after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office on Friday said it had not given her the go-ahead in the R1bn Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal using taxpayers money.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said Ramaphosa had not been briefed and will not be making any announcement on the matter when he delivers his state of the nation address in Cape Town next Thursday.

“Even though we have not been briefed, we do not think that spending such an amount, in this manner, will be justifiable,” said Magwenya.

The office of the president weighed in on the controversial deal after a Daily Maverick report this week that it had evidence to prove that South African Tourism (SAT) is preparing to ink a sponsorship deal with the English Premier League team.

DA MP Manny de Freitas told TimesLIVE that a delegation from DA abroad has been designated to approach the club in London to ascertain the status of the deal and if money has exchanged hands.

“This idea is even worse than the money allocated for the ANC’s comrades in Cuba, an effort that was stopped by Solidarity in the courts.

“Our country is in a power crisis. Consumers are being crushed by inflation. There is no way the ANC will be able to condone such a decision in the 2024 election, not even among its staunchest supporters,” De Freitas said.

Meanwhile, South Africa Tourism acting CEO Themba Khumalo reportedly said it was not the responsibility of the agency to resolve the country’s energy crisis or fix its potholes. “Its sole mandate is to attract tourists,” and that is the reason for its proposed sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur.

“According to the Tourism Act 3 of 2014 the mandate of SAT is to market South Africa as a tourist destination domestically and internationally,” Khumalo said.

“We have 24 markets around the world we focus on. For the past 20 years money has been spent on foreign soil — whether on a single initiative, as was being envisaged now, on small campaigns with different travel agents and pockets of audiences — to persuade foreign nationals to travel in SA.”

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