Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) celebrates with Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Ryan Sessegnon (R). Photo: AfP

REPORT: SA Tourism plot near R1bn Tottenham sponsorship

A report has unveiled an apparent proposal for SA Tourism to spend nearly R1bn on a sponsorship with English Premier League club Tottenham.


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) celebrates with Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Ryan Sessegnon (R). Photo: AfP

According to the Daily Maverick, the government – through its marketing agency SA Tourism – is proposing a 36-month deal with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur at an alleged cost of £42.5m (R910m) over three years. It’s thought that this could be a sleeve sponsorship proposal.

Documents obtained by Daily Maverick apparently show that the South African government, through its marketing agency SA Tourism, was perhaps set to entertain a PowerPoint presentation that stated “Executive Summary: Proposed 36-month sponsorship partnership with Tottenham Hotspur FC”.

The article published on Wednesday outlines the following prospect: “The £42.5-million deal would run from as soon as February 2023 to June 2026, with the option to extend for another year. The presentation claims that in exchange for this R1-billion investment, SA Tourism will receive media exposure to the value of £277-million, or almost R6-billion.”

However, there has also been some suggestion that this proposal is not being unduly pushed forward, and that there should be no cause for panic.

Tottenham are one of the leading English football clubs

Interestingly, eNCA’s UK correspondent Olly Barratt had tweeted that his “sources suggest an agreement should be confirmed within days”, while adding “there is an acceptance among those close to the deal that this is going to be controversial in South Africa”.

A statement issued on Wednesday  by the Ministry of Tourism, through Steve Motale, stated as follows: 

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has noted a report by the Daily Maverick on Wednesday 1 February 2023 headlined: “From Lindiwe Sisulu, With Love: Inside SA Tourism’s R1bn proposal to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur”.

Sadly, this article is riddled with inaccuracies and untruths aimed at tarnishing Minister Sisulu’s image. There is no doubt the report seeks to drive a political agenda rather to inform the public truthfully in line with journalism ethos.

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

Like any other board, the SAT board is independent and Minister Sisulu does not interfere with its decisions.

Proposals get received by SAT, and are processed by a project team, then are sent through to the executive committee before being presented to the SAT board.

In the various portfolios Minister Sisulu has served since the dawn of democracy, her contribution to government speaks for itself. Even Daily Maverick through it source indicates that this proposal dates back to 2017, of which Minister Sisulu held a different portfolio.

Essentially, the SAT proposal is to conclude a Memorandum of understanding ( MOU ) with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. It is non-binding. Such a proposal , must still pass muster within the Tourism Ministry and is subject to the concurrence of National Treasury , to conform to government prescripts.

With regard this matter Minister Sisulu is still awaiting for a report and 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.