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OUTA calls for transparency on proposed Tottenham Hotspur deal

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OUTA calls for transparency on proposed Tottenham Hotspur deal

By Thys Khiba – The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has written to Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu and the acting CEO of SA Tourism, Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo, asking for detailed information and transparency regarding the return on investment for the marketing deal with Tottenham Hotspur FC.

The proposed nearly R1-billion sponsorship by South African Tourism with Tottenham Hotspur for over three years to promote South Africa as a destination has caused an outcry.

Khuma told media that the deal will help them to access the audience in the British Premier League, so that they can persuade them to travel to SA to spend pounds, Euros and dollars. He confirmed SA Tourism has not signed a contract yet but intends to.

Money that is invested in tourism is not the same as money that’s required for energy; it’s not the same amount of money that’s required for potholes. Our legislated mandate is about persuading international people to travel to this country and spend money in our economy,” said Khumalo.

Outa indicated that they are not surprised at the public outrage, given the country’s financial constraints and the far more pressing issues that these funds could be spent on’, even in the tourism sector.

OUTA calls for transparency on proposed Tottenham Hotspur deal

OUTA calls for transparency on proposed Tottenham Hotspur deal

Outa CEO, Wayne Duvenage said the size of the budget for the deal is unacceptable considering the urgent issues that need funding in the country.

“We understand the need to market the country as a tourism destination. However, a contract and spend of this size and nature against the backdrop of our country’s financial constraints and the dire issues that need funding attention, combined with low public trust in government’s spending decisions, leads us to question the rationality of this proposal,” said Duvenage.

The Civil action group says that this could be a serious waste of money and abuse of taxpayers’ funds.

The decision is expected to consume around 38% of SA Tourism’s marketing budget for the next three to four years.

On top of that, this spend is largely aimed at the UK visitors, which is only around 25% of South Africa’s inbound tourism market, Duvenage said.

Outa believes that government should address: high crime including violent crime, the collapse of water infrastructure including in cities, load shedding, the failure of small businesses in the tourism sector to attract more tourists.

According to SA Tourism’s annual report for 2021/22, the entity received R1.297 billion as a grant from government, through the Department of Tourism, which was triple the previous year’s grant of R423 million.

SA Tourism also receives around R60 million in TOMSA levies (tourism levies charged to consumers for the use of specific tourism services), which the entity is supposed to use to promote South Africa, and to our knowledge, the various role playerswho represent to tourism industry on the Tourism Business Council, have not been aware of this planned spend,” said Duvenage.

Outa said the proposed Hotspur deal is another flagpole project’ that shows how removed South African government is from the need to spend its scarce revenues more wisely.

The R22 million SA Monumental Flag Project proposed by the department of Arts and Culture was developed to promote social cohesion and extend the country’s portfolio of post-apartheid monuments.

 

CENTRAL NEWS

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