Sisulu’s R1 Billion Tottenham Sponsorship Deal Indicative of ANC’s Obsession with Self-enrichment

ActionSA rejects the proposed R1 billion sponsorship of English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur that Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and the Department of Tourism, through its marketing agency SA Tourism, are trying to push through with haste.

At a time when South Africa is facing an unprecedented energy crisis and rampant crime, scarce state resources should be used to address the most pressing needs in the nation. If we want to attract sustainable tourism to South Africa, we need start by fixing these issues – not just an expensive PR campaign with questionable benefit.

The R910,997,814.75 deal – worth 36% of SA Tourism’s overall budget, as reported by Daily Maverick – arguably has more to do with the benefit officials and politicians will derive from the agreement, including gaining access to stadium hospitality and tickets at Tottenham Hotspur games in London.

It is also questionable that this deal appears to be pushed through with much haste and alacrity before Minister Sisulu is reshuffled in cabinet in the coming days, further raising suspicion behind the true motives of the deal. South Africans are all too familiar with “success fees” that officials and politicians have earned from similar deals in the past. Sadly, one cannot evaluate any such proposal without questioning who the real financial beneficiaries will be.

Meanwhile, South African sports teams and athletes continue to have to beg for money and seek sponsorships when they aim to represent the country overseas – surely a situation where we fund overseas athletes can’t be entertained ahead of investing in local opportunities to advance South Africa?

This just furthermore supports ActionSA’s view that Minister Sisulu should be removed from cabinet, and that the ANC is committed to using state resources to benefit its own leaders and officials, while side-lining the people of South Africa.

ActionSA fully supports the South African tourism industry and the potential it has to drive economic growth. But we believe that once we have fixed our key infrastructure, and can provide a safe and secure environment for everyone who visits our country, tourists will come to South Africa in their droves. There is no doubt we are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and want to share that with the world.

When ActionSA is in government after 2024, we will prioritize getting the basics right to attract tourists, not schemes to fund overseas athletes where South Africans get little to no benefit.