Newly minted Tourism chairperson adamant deal should go ahead, undermines the committee’s call for it to be stopped

SHOULD the deal go ahead, of which chances are very slim it would, is tantamount to disregarding the country.

The South African Tourism board has confirmed it will go ahead with the controversial R1bn Tottenham Hotspur deal.

This week, we woke-up to news its adamant chairperson, who was only appointed two-weeks ago, Thomazile Botha, confirming they will go ahead with the deal ‘rubbing concerned parties the wrong way’.

Following the leak of private and confidential documents, SAT promised to investigate who blew the whistle on this sensitive matter and “will deal harshly with that particular person(s)” as consultations were to take place with all relevant parties, said the acting CE Reverend Themba Khumalo, during a heated presser.

This was exacerbated by its acting chief financial officer, Johan van der Walt, whom is alleged to have close ties with WWP Group, the agency named in documents as due to be given a £1.5-million (R31.3-million) upfront fee by 31 March 2023 to “activate” the sponsorship deal- a fact flatly denied by Khumalo, who is the chief marketing officer at the SAT.

Probed on this matter Van der Walt responded: “I have no financial interest in WWP Group, but I have in the past done some consulting work for WWP Group from time to time – predominantly work of a tax nature.”

This irked members of Parliament Committee on Tourism, who subjected the entire SAT board before Parliament and ordered to halt the deal with immediate effect, after numerous inconsistencies were flagged.

The Committee felt they were being undermined and also ordered the out-going minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu, whom his spokesperson, still stand by his word that she was ‘unaware of talks on the deal’ and subsequent visit to the club in England, to further put a stop to this.

SAT board will have to get a buy-in from Gvt officials, unions and tourism stake holders on this deal to see it through but it seems, even the President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, is not ‘feeling it’. So, it is fathomable for the chairperson to insist on the deal to go ahead.

Its a sign of short-sightedness and being aloof by Botha and the entire board.

Honestly, the project sounds beneficial as it will bring over R88bn in ROIs, but it should be parked for future- due to numerous economic factors SA faces now.

Image SLM (SAT acting CE Rev Themba Khumalo and ‘boss’ Lindiwe Sisulu, minister of Tourism, both agree the deal should go ahead despite consequences associated with the deal).

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