A decision on whether to proceed with the Tottenham Hotspur deal is yet to be finalised, said new minister of tourism Patricia de Lille.
De Lille told eNCA that she expects the tourism board to provide her with a full report of the deal. She said the report would detail what has happened with the deal and the value proposition that the deal offers the country.
Daily Maverick first reported that the deal between SA Tourism and the English top division club is believed to be worth nearly R1 billion over three years.
A presentation that was before the tourism board said that South Africa would get match-day advertising, stadium advertising, and the Spurs team would travel to South Africa for a tour.
Daily Maverick discovered that the then CFO of SA Tourism, Johan van der Walt, was a director in a number of companies associated with an agency that would play a role in “activating” the deal.
Van der Walt resigned amidst the controversy a few weeks after the deal was announced.
The deal has drawn widespread criticism.
The DA said the planned sponsorship is a slap in the face of every South African whose hard-earned tax will be used to sponsor a first-world football team.
Yesterday, the DA called for minister de Lille to “unequivocally and unambiguously reject this proposal in every way”.
“De Lille should re-direct these funds to much-needed dilapidated tourism infrastructure throughout the country,” they said.
She didn’t denounce the deal in her first public comment on the matter as tourism minister, stating that the deal is “not finalised”.
“Sport plays an important role in also getting tourists to our country,” she said. “I am a soccer fan – I am a amakhosi (Kaizer Chiefs) fan for life.”
De Lille was appointed minister of tourism on Monday as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced changes to his cabinet. She was the minister of public works and Infrastructure from 2019 to 2023.
She replaced Lindiwe Sisulu, one of three ministers axed from the cabinet on Monday. Sisulu has been in cabinet since 1996, starting as the deputy home affairs minister.
De Lille said that she had had a conversation with Sisulu about the Tottenham Hotspur deal to check the status of the deal.