Sisulu denies involvement in c

Lindiwe Sisulu reacted to a media report about a SA Tourism deal with Spurs. Images: Ben Stansall / AFP/Phill Magakoe / AFP

Sisulu denies involvement in controversial R1 billion tourism proposal to Tottenham Hotspur

Lindiwe Sisulu denied claims that she is trying to push through a controversial deal with Spurs before she is removed from the Tourism portfolio.

Sisulu denies involvement in c

Lindiwe Sisulu reacted to a media report about a SA Tourism deal with Spurs. Images: Ben Stansall / AFP/Phill Magakoe / AFP

Tourism Minister Lindiwe  Sisulu denied her involvement in a reported sponsorship deal with London-based Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) on Wednesday, 1 February.


Daily Maverick published an article titled From Lindiwe Sisulu, With Love: Inside SA Tourism’s R1bn proposal to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur on 31 January.

The publication reported that the South African Tourism Board proposed spending almost R1 billion (£42.5 million) on a sponsorship deal with Spurs for the next three years.

The revelation immediately sparked controversy, with many arguing that the money would be better spent on other initiatives.

Sisulu responded to the article on Wednesday, saying it was riddled with inaccuracies. Despite what the report says, the Tourism Minister said she is yet to be briefed on the matter by the SA Tourism Board.

“The reporter falsely claims that Minister Sisulu is forcing SA Tourism to push through the deal through before she is moved from the Tourism portfolio.

“This is a blatant lie. This reported deal is purely an SAT board matter on which Minister Sisulu has not been formally briefed by the board,” said Sisulu.

The tourism department stressed that the SAT board is independent and Sisulu does not interfere with its decisions. The department furthered the SAT proposal is to agree on a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Spurs.

The Tourism Ministry would then consider the proposal before sending it for concurrence in the National Treasury.

“With regard to this matter, Minister Sisulu is still awaiting a report and is to be briefed by SAT board as they are independent and take their own decisions on various matters. It is mischievous to relate this to the imminent cabinet reshuffle.

“Minister Sisulu is in consultation with her legal team and will communicate the way forward in due course,” concluded the statement.


According to reports, the deal, which came to light after presentations about the sponsorship were leaked, was very close to being finalised.

News24 reported that SA Tourism wanted the deal done before the imminent cabinet reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa, while Daily Maverick said it was hoped that the President would announce the sponsorship in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 9 February.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would send a delegation to Spurs to get the facts behind the deal in a statement on Wednesday.

“We will be submitting questions as to how this decision was arrived at and what studies have been undertaken to justify this decision. We will also be tabling this matter at the next Tourism Portfolio Committee meeting,” said the opposition party.

The DA said the money should rather be spent locally to improve South Africa’s tourism sector, create jobs and grow the economy.