March 21, 2023

 New Twist in South Africa’s Tottenham Hotspur Sponsorship Deal Opens Can of Worms

2 min read

Harare — Lindiwe Sisulu, the Minister of Tourism, distanced herself from the reported R1 billion deal to sponsor Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, which has sparked widespread outrage.

This comes after SA Tourism (SAT) was lambasted after the Daily Maverick’s publication of its proposed plans for a three-year deal worth £42.5 million (approximately R900 million) beginning in the 2023/24 English Premier League season and ending at the end of the 2026/27 season.

Initially, South Africa’s tourism ministry denied reports suggesting it planned to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur.

However, after SA Tourism defended its choice to invest roughly R1 billion in Tottenham Hotspur, Daily Maverick has revealed another twist in the tale.

According to the report, Johan van der Walt, the interim chief financial officer (CFO) of SA Tourism, is a director of many businesses connected to the WWP Group and acknowledged working directly for the WWP Group in the past.

WWP is the agency which will be used in “activating” the sponsorship – and which must be paid a £1.5-million (R31.3-million) upfront fee.

In return for the investment, SA Tourism says it would receive training camps in South Africa, branding for the team uniforms, branding for the interview backdrops, match-day advertising, partnership announcements, complimentary tickets, and stadium hospitality.

Leader of Build One South Africa Mmusi Maimane said the proposed sponsorship agreement is illogical. And so does his former party and the official opposition, Democratic Alliance.

“What are the deterrents to tourism? Crime. Corruption. Load shedding. Polluted beaches. Rwanda did not just sponsor Arsenal. They made sure that Kigali was safe, clean and working,” said Mmusi Maimane.

“SA Tourism’s plan to sponsor an English Premier League team, Tottenham Hotspur, is a slap in the face of every South African whose hard-earned tax will be used to sponsor a first-world football team. The DA will do everything in its power to oppose this lunacy, the DA said in a statement.

But Tourism SA Acting CEO Themba Khumalo has defended the proposed deal.

“Money that is invested in tourism is not the same money that’s required for energy; it’s not the same amount of money that’s required for potholes,” says Khumalo about the Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal.

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