SA Tourism gets yellow card after R1bn Tottenham Hotspur revelations

SA Tourism gets yellow card after R1bn Tottenham Hotspur revelations
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. (Photo: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lerato Maduna) | SA Tourism's acting CEO, Themba Khumalo. (Photo: Supplied) | Tottenham fans wave their 125th anniversary flags at White Hart Lane on 1 October 2007 in London, England. (Photo: Phil Cole / Getty Images) | SA Tourism logo. (Image: Supplied)

Another week, another gobsmacking revelation of a government entity’s proposed waste of our hard-earned taxes. While you read on about Spursgate, plus also about our revelations of how tightly enmeshed South Africa is in a globally powerful Israeli syndicate, I also invite you to try your hand at choosing a better Cabinet for South Africa, from a variety of talented South Africans.

Dear DM168 readers,

By far our most shocking Daily Maverick exposé this week is the revelation by Rebecca Davis of SA Tourism’s intention to splurge nearly R1-billion to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur. 

Not only has acting SA Tourism (SAT) CEO Themba Khumalo defended this folly and accused the media of interrupting “a conversation” about it, but Johan van der Walt, interim SA Tourism CFO, who admitted to “contributing to presentations” in respect of the proposed Tottenham Hotspur partnership, also has direct ties to an advertising agency that stands to earn a R31-million upfront fee. 

Van der Walt is unperturbed by the obvious conflict of interest. But it seems like this daft idea that he contributed towards, could somehow benefit this interim CFO or his associates. But could it benefit South Africa in any way whatsoever? While some think there are huge benefits, I seriously doubt it. 

Visit South Africa?

Do we really think Spurs soccer fans will see a sign saying “Visit South Africa” on Harry Kane’s shirt sleeve and after a few pints at the pub, images of Table Mountain and Kruger Park will flash in their collective consciousness. And, hey presto, millions of lads from north London will immediately dash to buy a British Airways flight to Cape Town? And then a connecting flight to Hoedspruit? Not! Thank goodness for good journalists like Davis for exposing this attempt at squandering taxes before it gets out of hand.

 If SAT has a billion bucks lying around unspent, I can think of a whole lot more useful ways of making our beautiful country a more attractive destination for tourists.

These ways would start with making our country a safer place to visit and live in, as opposed to the notoriously dangerous Gangsta’s Paradise that it has become. I’d say SAT should give the billion bucks back to Treasury, so it can be used to bolster crime fighting, detection and prosecution. 

Rid the police and state security of dirty cops and agents who are in cahoots with local and global criminal syndicates, from the top to the bottom “finish and klaar”. As Jackie Selebi, the first Police Commissioner to be criminally prosecuted, once said in defence of his drug trafficker buddy Glenn Agliotti, who bought off the top cop with shoes and cash.

Poisonous cocktails

It’s sad and disappointing for those of us who dreamed of a more egalitarian, progressive and prosperous South Africa for all. But it was Selebi’s friendship with Agliotti that first revealed in all its sordid detail the Achilles heel of not just the former police commissioner, but many other ANC cadres. The poisonous cocktail of arrogance, hubris and greed; the power trap that sold our country for shoes and cars and cash and holidays. And, and, and…


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A friend recently sent me the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime’s (Gitoc) South African risk assessment from September 2022. If you have time, read this report to realise how this Achilles heel has helped turn us into a magnet for organised criminals from around the world. 

 Highlights are:

1) How connected, diverse, embedded, entrepreneurial and violent South African organised crime has become, making us rank a joint 16th, with an average criminal actor score (at 7.25), worse than Mexico (7.13), Somalia (7.13) and Libya (7.0).

2) How gross inequality, forced removals and lack of policing in traditionally black and coloured areas during apartheid led to the emergence of gangs, and how the perpetuation of this inequality in democratic South Africa perpetuates the embeddedness and an acceptance of a range of criminal activities in communities. 

3) How a lack of proper policing and security of our railways, communications and electricity infrastructure has seen massive copper and steel theft by syndicates destroying overhead and underground cable and railway tracks, causing extended power outages, over and above rolling blackouts, and destroying public rail transport.

4) How corrupt police and government officials make South Africa a magnet for global syndicates and fugitives such as Radovan Krejčíř, who fled the Czech Republic, where he was wanted for conspiracy to murder, money forgery, tax evasion, extortion and abduction. He quickly forged links with police and government officials to expand his criminal network here. 

Our lead story by Caryn Dolley in this week’s newspaper reveals just how tightly enmeshed South Africa is in a globally powerful Israeli syndicate. It’s scary how easy it was for members and suspects linked to this dangerous Israeli mafia – responsible for assassinations, drug trafficking and extortion – to be based in our country, when ordinary Zimbabweans or Mozambicans struggle to get permits to do basic work such as carpentry, welding or masonry in South Africa.

As Caryn suggests in her story, the decades-long presence of global criminals (some who’ve been charged and convicted in their home countries, or in other states) points to suspected collusion with South African police or security officials.  

We need action now to make South Africa less of a magnet for criminals of the world and more of a magnet for tourists. And let’s agree we will not do this with a billion-rand sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspurs.

Rather, let’s put pressure on our government to do what Mark Shaw, director of Gitoc, suggests in his 2022 strategic organised crime risk assessment of South Africa:

“With the right leadership, long-term strategic vision and resources, and with a systemic institutional overhaul of its crime-fighting agencies, South Africa can and will defeat organised crime.”

Have your say

And while we march, scream, shout and vote for this to happen, I invite all of you to try your hand at choosing a better Cabinet for South Africa, from a variety of talented South Africans. So we can show President Cyril Ramaphosa who and what we need to get our country on track to recovery, from far too many years of criminality.

Click here to vote who you think should go and who you think should replace them in Ramaphosa’s Cabinet. CHOOSE YOUR IDEAL CABINET

And don’t forget to share your views on building a better South Africa by writing to me at [email protected]

Yours in defence of truth,

Heather. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Rogers says:

    The government should be halved in size. It has become a huge feeding trough for the connected and a drain on our taxes to the point that the benefits to citizens are hard to define.

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