Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Tourism Manny de Freitas said on Wednesday that South African Tourism's plan to sponsor English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur is a slap in the face of tax-paying South Africans.
Government, through its marketing agency SA Tourism, plans to sign a nearly R1-billion deal with Tottenham Hotspur in the hopes of attracting tourists to the country.
The DA said the plan is “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.
De Freitas said the money could instead be spent locally to improve the tourism sector and create jobs which will contribute to the much-needed growth of South Africa’s economy.
He said the proposed sponsorship would also be a slap in the face of the local sports fraternity, particularly the soccer sector, which does not receive much-needed funds.
With R1-billion, De Freitas said the government could build a brand new soccer pitch in every town in the country.
A DA delegation abroad will this week go to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in London to ascertain the exact status of the deal 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 African National Congress’s (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,” said De Freitas.
The DA will also table the matter at the next Tourism Portfolio Committee meeting.