Tourism Minster Patricia de Lille says legal counsel had advised her that the proposed Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship is unlawful and invalid.
“Money must at all times be spent wisely and prudently as we are entrusted with the public’s funds,” De Lille said.
Addressing the media in Pretoria earlier today, De Lille said in this time of global economic crisis, there is a need for innovation and the need to work together to grow markets and create more jobs in a cost effective manner.
The Tourism SA Board announced last month that it had given preliminary approval to the deal reported to be worth about R1 billion.
The announcement was met with criticism with some that argued the funds could be better spent tackling poverty or the nation’s energy crisis.
“Given the circumstances we find ourselves in economically, there has to be much more careful consideration of everything we do as government,” the Minister said.
De Lille said she wrote to the SA Tourism Board on Wednesday asking for their response regarding the legal opinion she had been advised on.
“As the Minister and as the Department of Tourism, we are committed to growing tourism, getting into untapped markets and truly reaching our full potential,” De Lille said.
De Lille said she has also written to the Minister of Finance on 10 March 2023 to enquire whether he had approved the proposal or transaction and have not yet received a response from the Minister of Fianance.
“Now in this time of global economic crisis, we need innovation and we need to work together to grow our markets and create more jobs for our people in a cost effective manner.
“As a country, when we enter into such massive partnerships, it is vital that we are able to be fully accountable, that we are transparent and can answer South Africans clearly and honestly.
“This matter has been marred by a lot of controversy and has raised many questions and we need to resolve this matter decisively and in the best interest of the people of South Africa as soon as possible,” the minister said.
Minister De Lille said the tourism sector is a major one for the country which boast some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes, a diverse mix of cultures, experiences and best asset, our people.
“The tourism sector is also a major contributor to the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2020 and The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan adopted by Cabinet in March 2021.
“I am therefore committed and excited about the work we can do in this space together with the private sector and communities to reach our full potential and see millions more people visiting this beautiful South Africa we call home. “
Source: South Africa Government News Agency