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Hospitality industry hails move by De Lille to sack entire SA Tourism Board

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The dissolution, officially expected to take place on Friday, comes after the outcry over the R1 billion Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal, incompetence and other allegations.

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille at the ICC in Durban on Tuesday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo, ANA

THE TOURISM sector has welcomed Minister Patricia De Lille’s move to sack the SA Tourism Board.

The dissolution, officially expected to take place on Friday, comes after the outcry over the R1 billion English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal, incompetence and other allegations.

De Lille said an interim board would be appointed by the end of the week to take care of matters until the institution has a new board.

De Lille wrote a letter to board chairperson Thozamile Botha on April 6. She gave the SA Tourism Board until this week Tuesday to say why she should not dissolve it amid a string of serious allegations against its members. De Lille said she had so far not received any representation, although the deadline has passed.

Eight out of 11 board members resigned last week, including the chairperson.

‘’In all the circumstances, I believe that good cause exists to dissolve the board, and I shall do so officially through the government gazette on Friday, April 21, 2023,’’ De Lille said in a statement.

She further said: ‘’I will also officially gazette the appointment of a team of three persons to manage the affairs of the board until the appointment of a new board.’’

Reacting to the developments, Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) CEO David Frost welcomed the move by De Lille.

‘’I think we really need to commend De Lille. I mean, she’s come into a position in which there was an elephant in the room, and she has acted decisively and quickly in terms of dealing with the issue. Clearly, the board of SA Tourism, in terms of overseeing the folly of the Tottenham Hotspur deal, was severely compromised,’’ said Frost.

He said he was impressed with the way De Lille interacted closely and in a frank manner with the leadership of the private sector tourism associations through the tourism business council and, indeed, with the leadership of large individual associations such as theirs.

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