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The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins 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. 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.
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. 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.
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 This has left these workers struggling with their wages eroded and repealed by inflation.
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.
Issued by COSATU
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