SA Tourism should look closer to home before splurging on Tottenham Hotspur vanity project

It’s been reported that SA Tourism is planning on splashing the cash with Tottenham Hotspur. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

It’s been reported that SA Tourism is planning on splashing the cash with Tottenham Hotspur. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Published Feb 2, 2023


Johannesburg - Remember when South Africans clubbed together to ensure that Olympic medallists Tatjana Schoenmaker and Bianca Buitendag would receive a decent bonus for their exploits at Tokyo 2020?

At the time, Sascoc revealed that they did not have enough resources to afford a bonus for multiple medallist Schoeman and silver medallist Buitendag for their exploits in the swimming pool and in surfing, respectively.

They did not have the money, they said, to honour the two Olympians.

So, there we were, the SA public trying to generate some cash to honour the two women.

Similar issues haunt our athletes when they endeavour to represent the nation at local and international events in athletics.

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Hockey finds itself begging for aid every time an Olympics comes along.

It should, therefore, make all of us somewhat livid to read yesterday morning that SA Tourism was planning to dump R1-billion into a sponsorship deal with Tottenham Hotspur!

You’d imagine that the English club will benefit hugely from such a cash injection, one that will increase their ability to develop their team and their brand.

I have no doubt that the sponsorship will also have an impact on our country’s tourism industry.

After all, Spurs are a huge team, despite their lack of success on the field, and such a deal will reach millions of supporters and millions more who watch the English Premier League.

However, when our Olympic committee and government can’t even look after its own athletes, then a degree of indignation is required.

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Could you imagine what our sports stars in the Olympics codes outside of the ‘Big Three’ (football, rugby and cricket) could do with such a cash injection?

Moreover, in a country that is suffering from huge socioeconomic problems, where we cannot generate enough power to keep the lights on, where large parts of Johannesburg are under threat of not being able to pump water to its residents, spending nearly a billion rand on a foreign club, seems ludicrous.

I can appreciate that we must market ourselves and to make money, you have to spend it, but we are in a crisis that requires every cent and collective effort to correct.

Splurging so much on what is a glorified vanity project when South African citizens are suffering speaks volumes on how those in power have lost touch with reality.

If we are to truly grow Brand South Africa, then we must first fix our current, very real and very significant problems.