South African Tourism (SA Tourism), the marketing agency of the South African Government’s Department of Tourism, is standing by its proposal to spend almost R1 billion on a sponsorship for the English soccer team Tottenham Hotspur.

The Department of Tourism, as has been pointed out by The Daily Friend’s Ivo Vegter, has got many other more pressing problems to fix. For example, Mr Vegter describes in detail how South Africa has had major problems with tour vehicles and the required permits.

Absolute mismanagement regarding vehicle permits has created situations where tour vehicle owners have no way to use their vehicles without the risk of the vehicle being impounded. Often vehicles which are allowed to be on the road under a provision that they have applied for a permit renewal, end up being impounded because traffic police or police officers don’t know anything about the provision.

South Africa has many other major problems which that R1 billion could help solve. An obvious tourism deterrent is the major crime problem which has had would-be tourists cancel their trips.

The most pressing issue facing South Africa today is, of course, Eskom’s loadshedding. Accordingly to DA Shadow Minister of Finance, Dr Dion George MP, National Treasury has repeatedly claimed that there is no additional money for diesel. “But the fact that the ANC government has R1 billion to waste on a foreign soccer sponsorship – as confirmed by the acting CEO of the SA Tourism Board – belies this claim” stated Dr George.

SA Tourism’s CEO Themba Khumalo stated in a press briefing today that “there is no signed contract” but that there is intent to sign the contract after it has gone through government procedures. Dr George stated that the money must therefore be relocated and used to alleviate loadshedding, before it is wasted.

Dr George said “Furthermore, Treasury, as the custodian of the national purse, is now obliged to exercise its powers in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and relevant Treasury regulations on public expenditure, to refuse authorization of the deal between SA Tourism and Tottenham Hotspur.”

“No spin and pontification can justify R1 billion being spent on such a deal in a country with a 32.9% unemployment rate, a crippling energy crisis and thousands of South Africans going to bed hungry every night” added Dr George.

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