Please find attached a soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.
South African Tourism’s (SAT) plan to sponsor an English Premier League team, Tottenham Hotspur, is a slap in the face of every South African whose hard-earned tax will be used to sponsor a first-world football team.
It is also an insult for the South African tourism and travel sector which was decimated, and in many cases completely destroyed, during and post Covid.
A media report states that the deal “was on the verge of being finalised”. A delegation from DA Abroad will this week go to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in London to ascertain exactly what the status of this deal is and if any money has exchanged hands.
The DA will do everything in our power to oppose this lunacy.
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.
We will be submitting questions as to how this decision was arrived at and what studies have been undertaken to justify this decision. We will also be tabling this matter at the next Tourism Portfolio Committee meeting.
SAT sites examples elsewhere where other Destination Management Organisations have signed agreements with other international football teams, however in these instances, the destinations in question already had a strong and thriving tourism industry. In such cases such deals makes sense as a “top-up” to what they are already successfully doing. In the case of South Africa, government isn’t even doing the basics, such as maintaining tourism sites and infrastructure.
No doubt, this will also be a slap in the face of the sports fraternity, particularly the soccer sector, who do not receive much-needed funds to advance our own sports teams. With R1 billion the government can build a brand new soccer pitch in every town in the country!
It appears that this is yet another glitz and glamour ploy by Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, to leave a mark in tourism before the potential redeployment to another department in a soon-to-be announced cabinet reshuffle.
This money should rather be spent locally to improve our tourism sector so that it can thrive, create jobs and in turn contribute to the much-needed growth of our economy.