SIU called in to investigate the SA Tourism-Spurs sponsorship deal

SIU called in to investigate the SA Tourism-Spurs sponsorship deal

Under the previous executive leadership and SA Tourism Board of Directors, whistleblower complaints appear to have piled up without action.

The new board has called in the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to look into seven previously neglected cases dating back to May 2022.

A letter that interim chairman Tim Harris sent to South African tourism staff last week, see it Daily Maverickconfirms this.

The letter states that as part of the South Asian Tourism Board’s new induction process, briefings have been held with South Asian tourism staff.

“During the briefings we have received, management has brought to the Board’s attention seven outstanding reports of wrongdoing, submitted through the South African Tourism Hotline, in relation to incidents that could have an adverse impact on the entity’s reputation,” the letter reads.

The letter states that these reports date back to May 2022.

“The Board discussed all reported incidents and, in view of our fiduciary obligations, decided to investigate them. It is important that such reports are fully investigated to ensure that there is accountability for any wrongdoing, and to prevent a cloud hanging over those who have been falsely accused.”

The letter states that the South African Tourism Board has approached the Special Investigations Unit and has agreed that “several” investigators will be seconded to SA Tourism to work with the agency’s internal audit team to investigate the allegations.

when called Daily Maverick On Tuesday, Harris wouldn’t be drawn into the nature of any specific complaints being investigated — except to say they involved “potentially credible allegations including nepotism, mismanagement and corruption.”

Harris declined to confirm whether an investigation would investigate SA Tourism’s miscarriage A billion rand sponsorship deal with Tottenham Hotspur. Daily Maverick He was reliably informed, however, that this was indeed the case.

From Lindiwe Sisulu, with Love: Inside SA Tourism R1bn sponsorship proposal for Tottenham Hotspur

SIU probes placed the cat among the pigeons

That the arrival of the SIU investigators has caused some uproar in parts of South Australian tourism is evident through Article published this week On the Iqbal Survé online media platform iol.

Under the headline “South African Tourism Transitional Board Accused of Persecution by Some Employees”, it described the new corruption investigations as a “tool of persecution to intimidate employees”.

The article mentioned that some SA tourism staff had been contacted iol He claimed that “some members of the Executive Committee were ambushed and their laptops were raided in what the Interim Council described as investigations.”

message he viewed Daily Maverick Sent to SA tourism staff suggesting that some of the laptops may already have been seized or copied. He states that it will be necessary for investigators to retain investigation-related data from certain officials, but stresses that “these officials are not necessarily involved in the reported incidents.”

Request to comment on iol Framing the Special Investigations Unit’s investigations, Harris said Daily Maverick:

“When whistleblowers report incidents in good faith, it is the duty of the board to ensure they are properly reviewed. In May 2023 the South Australian Tourism Board was brought to the attention of various cases received through the independent ethics hotline which, in accordance with policy, required escalation to the board These cases involve not only SA tourism executives, but employees at all levels.

“Thus, to suggest that this is a witch-hunt or persecution of South Australian tourism executives is bogus and begs the question as to how an ethical streak, intended to encourage whistle-blowing, can be run without proper procedures and resulting investigations.”

The former board of directors, executive left with questions to answer

Harris was mute when asked why some of these whistleblowing complaints had apparently been ignored for over a year, saying only: “The current SA Tourism Board is not in a position to reflect on the decisions of any previous South African tourism boards.”

It’s hard to know exactly who should point the finger for lack of follow-up in this case, because the SA Tourism Board under former Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has become something of a revolving door – especially in the last few months of 2022, when identification from The chalkboard chair is changing at an amazing speed.

The last in that seat during Sisulu’s reign was Thuzamil Botha, who Raise the eyebrows With his apparent determination to keep pushing the Tottenham deal even after almost industry-wide condemnation.

For the period between May 2022 and May 2023 when whistleblower complaints piled up, there is no ambiguity about who was leading the executive team: Acting CEO Themba Kumalo.

Khumalo, who already had a checkered past at former government entities including South African Airports Corporation, SAA and Telkom, resigned in May 2023 following the fallout from the Tottenham deal – which he had apparently defended.

His resignation was the second executive resignation as a result of the Tottenham scandal, as Johan van der Walt was acting CFO of SA Tourism. This came after revelation before Daily Maverick that there is a possible corrupt relationship between van der Walt and the agency proposed to “activate” the Tottenham deal, WWP group.

In the months that followed, Daily Maverick It has been reported on numerous occasions that the WWP Group – for which van der Walt “served as Group Finance Director” – is still involved in the marketing of various government entities. DM


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