Taxpayers shell out R1.3m on two ‘superfans’ Rugby World Cup attendance

Mama Joy Chauke, South African sports super fan.

Mama Joy Chauke, South African sports super fan.

Published Mar 3, 2024


While the Springboks will always be remembered for bringing home victory after the Rugby World Cup, taxpayers will have to dig deep in their pockets for the teams’ two super fans who were seen by millions to have been flying the South African flag high each time the Boks’ ran on the field.

AfriForum has now revealed that the taxpayers shelled out at least R1,3 million for the “super fans” Mama Joy Chauke and Botha Msila travel and accommodation during last year’s rugby events in France.

This information is contained in feedback from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture that the civil rights organisation said it received on Thursday, following an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Botha Msila attended all the Springboks games during the World Cup last year.

AfriForum submitted the Act application in October last year and requested detailed statements and documentation regarding the expenditure of the department’s sponsorship for Chauke and Msila’s attendance at the 2023 tournament.

Although certain requested information is missing in the feedback provided to AfriForum, it does show that the department spent a total of R1 361 283 on flights and accommodation for these two fans.

AfriForum’s other questions pertaining to Chauke and Msila’s full spending during the tournament have also been left unanswered.

In addition, the department also failed to provide detailed information about the expenses incurred for these fans’ attendance at other similar sporting events, AfriForum said.

In its Act application, AfriForum also requested information regarding the merits of Chauke and Msila’s appointment, but the department also withheld this information.

AfriForum has meanwhile instructed its legal team to lodge a complaint with the Information Regulator to compel the department to hand over complete information and full expenditure records of the past 10 years with respect to the “super fans”.

A formal complaint will also be filed with the Public Protector about the alleged misappropriation of funds by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

Charné Mostert, AfriForum Campaign Officer, said: “Politically connected individuals are seemingly able to live in luxury on taxpayers’ accounts, while millions of South Africans live in poverty.”

She added that through the Information Regulator and Public Protector, AfriForum will ensure that the department gives answers about this alleged misappropriation of funds.

“This amount spent on flights and accommodation alone is far more than many South Africans earn per year. AfriForum will not only ensure that these irregularities are exposed, but will also see to it that there are repercussions for it,” Mostert said.

In its request for the information, AfriForum asked the department for detailed records of all financial allocations, disbursements, or sponsorships provided by to super fans, including but not limited to Mama Joy Chauke and Botha Msila, for their participation in international sporting events, for the past 10 years.

It also asked for documentation outlining the selection criteria, process, and justification for the inclusion of super fans in department-sponsored initiatives or events, as well as any relevant policies or guidelines governing such selections over the past decade.

AfriForum also wanted complete financial records, invoices, and receipts related to Mama Joy Chauke and Botha Msila's participation, as well as all associated costs covering travel, accommodation, meals, and incidentals, for the past 10 years.

It also asked for agreements, contracts, or memoranda of understanding between the department and the two super fans, pertaining to their involvement in international sports events and the associated financial arrangements over the past decade.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) meanwhile said it does not have any contract or memorandum of understanding with ‘Mama Joy’ and Botha Msila regarding their attendance at events hosted, or participated in, by Saru’s teams during the past 10 years.

AfriForum said the importance of the requested information to both the general public - many who are taxpayers - cannot be understated.

Pretoria News