Johan van der Walt, SA Tourism’s acting chief financial officer, has been served with a notice of suspension. According to board chairperson Thozamile Botha, Van der Walt has been instructed to provide reasons justifying why he should not be suspended.
Also read: South African government pursues R1bn sponsor deal with Tottenham
In January, Daily Maverick reported through its marketing agency, SA Tourism, that the South African government is preparing to sign a nearly R1 billion sponsorship agreement with the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
According to EWN, Daily Maverick also reported that Van der Walt admitted to having connections to an agency that was set to receive more than R30 million from SA Tourism as part of the contentious sponsorship deal with the football club.
Botha said that early investigations showed that Van der Walt did not tell anyone about his conflict of interest or step away from meetings where the sponsorship deal was being discussed.
“In the general declarations, he indicated his links to those companies, but then as the details are being discussed obviously you expect him to say no, I can’t participate in this particular issue because I have vested interests,” he said.
Meanwhile, SA Tourism has allegedly dropped its investigation into who leaked the documents relating to the contentious Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal to the media. Botha stated that they did not want to go on a witch hunt because that would have made employees uncomfortable.
He also downplayed allegations that the organisation was targeting whistleblowers.
Botha claimed that since the institution has not yet made any financial commitments and the deal is still in the proposal stage, this is not a typical whistleblower case.
Three SA Tourism board members resign following Tottenham Hotspur saga