Controversial Spurs deal shelved Thandi Mahambehlala

CAPE TOWN. – The chairperson of Parliament’s Tourism Portfolio Committee, Thandi Mahambehlala, yesterday ordered an immediate stop to SA Tourism’s pending sponsorship deal with English football club Tottenham Hotspur.

The committee also wants to initiate an investigation.

Meanwhile, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu insists she had no prior knowledge of SA Tourism’s visit to London, nor the purpose for which they travelled there in January – saying they didn’t need her permission.

After initially being a no-show, Sisulu arrived four hours later before the committee but she left again after 30 minutes without saying anything.

She’s since issued a statement to clarify her absence.

Sisulu said that she was at a Cabinet meeting with the president and took umbrage that her apology was not read out to the committee.

She later returned to the meeting to answer questions from members of Parliament.

“The deal does not exist until certain steps are followed, to get permission from the treasury and permission of the president. I did not know when the members left for London. Request for permission to meet is normal, what it was about I did not know.”

Sisulu said it’s within the preserve of the board to find new tourism markets for South Africa, and they don’t need her permission to do so.

Meanwhile, the acting South African Tourism chief executive officer Themba Khumalo yesterday apologised unreservedly to South Africans for having appeared arrogant in his explanations of the deal.

Mahambehlala berated Khumalo for the way in which he addressed the deal last week, saying he spoke down to South Africans.

He has now apologised to members of Parliament (MPs).

“I do apologise for my conduct at that press briefing. Please forgive me for that,” he said. – Eyewitness News

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