CAPE TOWN — South African stakeholders have attacked moves by the South African government, through the department of SA Tourism (SAT), which is the verge of sealing a deal worth almost R1 billion to sponsor one of England’s elite soccer clubs, Tottenham Hotspur.

Information about the proposed deal were first reported by the Daily Maverick.

Sources also reveal that the SA Tourism has proposed a three-year sponsorship deal worth £42.5 million (about R900m) with Tottenham Hotspur.

In exchange for the investment, SA Tourism will receive kit branding, interview backdrop branding, match-day advertising, partnership announcements, training camps in SA, and free access to tickets and stadium hospitality.

This week, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said it was joining all properly adjusted South Africans to call on the South African government to scrap the proposed R1 billion football sponsorship of an English Premier League team by the South African Tourism and Department of Tourism. 

Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu National Spokesperson said, this would amount to more than a third of the budget allocated to promote South Africa’s tourism sector.  This comes against the background of many small tourism operators struggling to recover from COVID-19 and hoping for some financial relief from the Department in vain.

“This is a misguided vanity project that will contribute nothing to fix the ailing tourism industry that has not only suffered from COVID-19 but is also sabotaged by electricity cuts and high crime levels.”

Moreover, the Federation is concerned by the number of wrong-headed and cartoonish ideas produced by government departments, and bizarrely even championed by their Ministers, on how to fix this ailing sector of the economy.

Cosatu also noted, this comes after the Department of Arts, Culture and Sports proposed a ludicrous and absurd plan to blow about R22 million on a 100-metre flag monument.

According to Cosatu, South Africa needs to organically create a tourist friendly environment and abandon these artificial and mechanical ideas. Throwing money that we do not have on a problem will only sink this country deeper into the abyss.

“It is a fact that South African government is becoming less and less able to meet its obligations through taxation and has resorted to dangerous levels of inflationary borrowing instead. Throwing borrowed money on these futile ideas while, at the same time, gutting state institutions through budget cuts is senseless.

The same government that wants to sponsor a rich European soccer team has imposed a vicious wage freeze on nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers and other hard working public servants since 2020. This has left these workers struggling with their wages eroded and repealed by inflation.”

Cosatu added that this puerile idea is an insult to workers and South African taxpayers in general.

“The Presidency, Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation need to intervene, stop this wastage, and scrap this waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned monies.  The President would do well to take such nonsensical and offensive episodes into account when he reviews the performance of his Ministers and applies his mind on the need for their continued stay in Cabinet.”

Meanwhile, News24 says it understands that the finalisation of the proposal has to be settled before the imminent Cabinet reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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