South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Patricia De Lille, has made a public statement regarding the Tottenham Hotspur FC and SA Tourism Sponsorship Proposal, stating that it is “illegal, invalid and unlawful.” She believes that the sponsorship proposal should be cancelled, it will not be approved by her and her office and she has advised the SA Tourism board that they not go ahead with the deal.

South Africa’s tourism ministry and SA Tourism faced criticism after a news report by Daily Maverick uncovered the agency’s proposal for a three-year sponsorship deal with Tottenham Hotspur FC worth £42.5 million (about R900 million)

Acting SA Tourism Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Themba Khumalo

The Minister stressed the importance of the tourism sector in South Africa, which is a major contributor to the country’s economic recovery plan. She expressed her commitment to working with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to advance the sector and promote South Africa as a destination for millions of visitors.

The Minister explained that she sought legal advice regarding the Tottenham Hotspur FC and SA Tourism Sponsorship Proposal after her appointment. She was advised that the sponsorship is unlawful and invalid for three reasons.

Firstly, the sponsorship is considered a procurement event that does not comply with Section 217 of the Constitution and SA Tourism’s Supply Chain Management Policy. It appears that the sponsorship is a service that was proposed to be acquired by procurement through ‘sole source.’ Sole source procurement is only allowed where there is no competition in the market and only one supplier is able to provide the goods or services, which does not seem to be the case here.

Secondly, the sponsorship has not been budgeted for, as required by section 53 of the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999. As a result, the expenditure would be irregular or unauthorised within the meaning of those terms in the PFMA.

Thirdly, the deal amounts to a significant partnership transaction, which requires the Minister’s prior approval in terms of Section 54(2) of the PFMA.

Given the economic circumstances that the country is facing, the Minister believes that every decision made by the government must be carefully considered, and money must be spent wisely and prudently, as the public has entrusted the government with their funds. The Minister’s stance underscores the importance of complying with procurement regulations and ensuring that budgets are followed to promote transparency and accountability.